Members of the Arkadelphia Planning Commission voted unanimously Monday in a special called meeting to table an item pertaining to various requirements for the construction of the new Goza Middle School.

Members of the Arkadelphia Planning Commission voted unanimously Monday in a special called meeting to table an item pertaining to various requirements for the construction of the new Goza Middle School.
The item was on the agenda for the commission’s regular meeting on June 15. A representative from the Arkadelphia Public School District was not present for the meeting.
Monday’s special called meeting was scheduled for the purpose of allowing more time for a representative from APSD to attend the meeting. Again, a representative from the district was not at the meeting.
According to Daniel George, engineer with B & F Engineering of Hot Springs, plans are to build the new Goza Middle School east of the existing asphalt parking lot serving Arkadelphia High School.
The project site is zoned Non-Urban District (NU); therefore, all site requirements are determined by the Planning Commission on review. The adjacent zoning south of the project site is Highway Commercial District (C-2).
In order to plan the site, the Highway Commercial District requirements were used as a basis for design.
In addition, the Arkadelphia Municipal Code does not provide an amount of required off-street parking for school uses. Design and construction of public schools in Arkansas is overseen by the Arkansas Division of Public School Academic Facilities and Transportation (DPSAFT).
According to George, complete construction plans are currently being developed for the project and will be submitted for the building permit.
Anita Wiley, Building Department Supervisor with the City of Arkadelphia, the school district is ready to move forward with construction of the new school.
B & F Engineering submitted the overall high school and middle school site plan with parking details, building design drawings and Goza’s site plan layout with parking details for review.
“The planning commission’s purpose is to determine any necessary restrictions for the construction of the building. That’s why they are coming before you. For you to determine the restrictions that you would like to have or review the ones they are proposing and make a decision,” Wiley explained.
“We’re accepting whatever they need to do to building the school,” said Tom Tobin, chairman of the Arkadelphia Planning Commission.
George was able to make contact with APSD Superintendent Donnie Whitten via telephone during Monday’s meeting. Whitten’s flight to Little Rock had arrived shortly before the start of Monday’s meeting. A request to allow Whitten to address the commission over the phone was denied by the planning commission.
While members of the planning commission did not want to derail the plans, Tobin said he preferred having someone from the school district to attend the meeting in person to answer questions.
Tobin said the commission could either move forward without a school representative or table the item again to allow a school representative to attend a future planning commission meeting.
“That’s all I know to do. I hate to block the school. Anything we build for kids has to be a good thing,” said Tobin.
After more discussion, Bill Phelps made a motion to table the item once again. By tabling the item with no conditions, Phelps noted it could be brought up by the planning commission at any time.