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Traffic concerns delay approval of Tapestry Charter School expansion

Concern about traffic has prompted a two-week delay for Planning Board approval of a new school building and other facilities for Tapestry Charter School's proposed expansion.

The fast-growing K-12 school in North Buffalo wants to construct a three-story building at 111 Great Arrow Ave. for its kindergarten through fifth grade classes, which would move over from its current main building adjacent to the new site.

In turn, that would allow the school's upper grades to increase in size, as the demand for its education grows.

The school currently enrolls 825 students, but plans more than 1,000, said Tapestry Executive Director Eric Klapper.

The building – clad with red, blue, gray and off-white metal and stone panels – would include a large gymnasium, administrative areas and classrooms. The project on 7.6 acres also would entail the addition of a soccer field to the north, green space and 83 additional parking spaces for employees, on top of the 75 existing spaces at the other building at 65 Great Arrow.

"This is a great success story," Planning Board member Horace Gioia said. "We're thrilled about the project."

But traffic patterns are causing concerns for the board. Students get to the school by school buses, city buses and private vehicles, Klapper said. The proposal calls for a 15-bus drop-off and loading area off the street on the southern end. Two separate areas for parents to drop off their children would be located around the perimeter of the building on the north and west sides. The route then exits on the west side on Great Arrow.

"The site entry is basically a loop," said Robert Rumpl, architect and principal with Trautman Associates, who is working with the school.

Board members questioned how well that flow would work, and whether it would cause problems on the site and streets. So, the board decided to postpone action and ask the city Department of Public Works to weigh in first. The next meeting is May 8.

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