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Palm Beach Post (Florida)
Scaling back the expansion of Jupiter Christian School's football field is not enough to overcome opposition from some residents of the surrounding Jupiter River Estates neighborhood.
"The daily parking and traffic problem that the school creates is not going away. And as the student population increases, so will the traffic problems," said Corey Crowley, who lives near the 540-student private school.
Original plans called for the school to spend about $250,000 for a new football field with 500-seat permanent bleachers. The school teams now use the current campus field, about half the size of a regulation football field, at the pre-K through 12th-grade school on South Delaware Boulevard.
The new $150,000 plan eliminates the bleachers. Instead, smaller portable bleachers will be used. A new field, slightly smaller than a regulation football field, would be built. The plan is scheduled for first reading before the town council May 20.
Jupiter Christian has agreed to pay Jupiter High $50,000 to play its five varsity football home games -- which draw the biggest crowds -- each year for the next five years at the Jupiter High field on Military Trail, about 1.5 miles east of Jupiter Christian's campus. Jupiter Christian will also pay the school district $1,700 a game, the standard fee the district charges to use a school field.
Spending $800,000 for artificial grass at Jupiter High's football field was approved April 16 by the Palm Beach County School District. The plan calls for Jupiter paying $400,000 and school boosters raising the same amount.
The Jupiter town council and school district must give final approval to award the bid.
Along with not playing Friday night football games on its campus, Jupiter Christian officials have agreed to staggered school start and end times.
Beginning in August, students in grades seven through 12 would begin classes at 7:50 a.m. and be dismissed at 2:30 p.m. Students in prekindergarten through sixth grade would begin classes at 8:10 a.m. Prekindergarten for 3 and 4-year-olds will be dismissed at 2:15 p.m. Students in kindergarten through sixth grade will be dismissed at 2:45 p.m.
The staggered hours will reduce traffic and noise, said Jim Colman, Jupiter Christian's president.
"We are responding to the concerns of the residents. A good school is good for the neighborhood," Colman said.
While the new plan eliminates the varsity football game crowds, residents still must endure the added traffic and noise the new field will bring from other teams, said Jupiter River Estates resident Bill Miller.
"The noise and traffic are bad enough now. This will only make it worse," Miller said.
But resident Kathleen Dodge, who supports the school's plan, said school officials have tried to meet residents' concerns.
"Some residents demonize the school. That's unfortunate. I think the school is a good neighbor," Dodge said.
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