Two schools in Stow-Munroe Falls District may add mobile units for special education needs

LAURA FREEMAN Reporter

STOW – Two schools may be adding mobile classroom units for special needs students this fall.

Robert Gress of Stow-Munroe Falls City School District sent a request to the Planning Commission July 14 for the approval of a conditional zoning certificate and site plan to permit the construction of a mobile classroom unit located at Indian Trail Elementary School, 3512 Kent Road. 

The Stow Planning Commission unanimously approved the conditional zoning certificate and it will go before city council at the July 23 meeting. One of the conditions was approval by the Engineering and Building Department. 

The property is zoned R-3 Residential and schools are conditionally permitted in this district, said Rob Kurtz, director of planning and development.

The applicant is proposing to install the unit in an existing paved area southeast of the school building, Kurtz said. The proposed mobile classroom will be 27 feet in width and 74 feet in length and will be located 12 feet from the east property line. The proposed unit will contain nine classrooms and an office. Since the unit is located on an existing paved area, no tree clearing will be required.

John Wheeler of Wheeler Architects, representing the school district, said there were two projects to add mobile units, one at Indian Trail Elementary in Stow and one at Riverview Elementary in Munroe Falls, to address a shortage of classrooms and expand special education services and give teachers working classroom space. 

“They are overcommitted in the building,” Wheeler said. “Indian Trail is also their special education school and playground north of the trailer.”

The police and fire department were consulted about safety and approved the site for the Indian Trail trailer, which could be reached in the event of an emergency, Wheeler said. The fire alarm will be added to the building and tied to the existing building or it could be a stand-alone fire alarm.

The trailer would be a semi-permanent structure connected to the ground with a foundation and has a 10-year lease, Wheeler said. It can be removed from the site in the future.

Two residents who live behind the property voiced concerns about trees and students, but Wheeler said out of four site options, the one chosen met the safety requirements and the trailer would be 12 feet off the fence line with adult trees between the properties.

If approved by council, the project would be completed by the beginning of September when the foundation and trailer would be installed, Wheeler said.

The Munroe Falls Planning Commission reviewed the plan for the mobile unit at Riverview Elementary School on Wednesday night and recommended approval with no changes, according to Ken Freiman, zoning official. The trailer will be on the north side of the building.

Gannett reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at lfreeman@recordpub.com