Web Edition

lead stories
other news



chess forum
town talk


press releases


last week's issue

real estate
classified ads

Hun School Construction Plans Approved, But Some Final Designs Not Yet Determined

Matthew Hersh

The Hun School of Princeton was given unanimous approval by the Princeton Regional Planning Board to move forward with a project that includes a two-story, 28,958 square-foot athletic facility and a three-story, 3,393 square-foot addition to its facilities management building. The second building would comprise offices, storage, and a loading dock.

Additionally, the school sought what it termed "preliminary approval" for other various projects, including a 2,500 square-foot student center, the reconstruction of an existing auditorium and construction of a new 5,615 square-foot addition to the auditorium, bringing the total capacity of the facility to 575.

Further, the school sought the preliminary go-ahead to build a two-story, 1,109 square-foot "eco-classroom" intended for environmental education activities and an area for student scientific experiments.

Preliminary approval for the latter projects was necessary because while the footprints of the buildings have been established, other details, including building design, landscaping, and circulation studies have not yet been submitted to the Planning Office. Preliminary approval by the Planning Board would effectively allow the school to move forward with the projects while working with the Planning Office on the undetermined details.

Several members of the Planning Board, however, were uneasy with approving plans on a tentative basis, without seeing all the details presented before them. Typical board protocol calls for complete landscaping, traffic, pedestrian, and architectural testimony before a project can receive final approval.

However, Hun School representatives maintained that because most of the project is internal to the campus, the project would not generate traffic or create parking headaches like those that have caused conflict with many residents along Edgerstoune Road in the past.

But Hun School Attorney Richard Goldman maintained that the school needs to move forward with the tentative plans for fear of being caught in a "gap" that would delay the entire process.

Board member and Township Deputy Mayor Bill Enslin worried that issuing an approval, albeit preliminary, would give Hun the idea that their plans were final.

"I have to be frank, but without board input, this gives me a great deal of discomfort," Mr. Enslin said, adding that he would be more "comfortable" if the plans for the auditorium, new classroom, and student center were simply conceptual. Board member and Township Mayor Phyllis Marchand agreed, saying that she still would like to have seen the possible traffic impact posed by an increase in auditorium size should still be considered.

The Hun School's Mr. Goldman, however, said that parking problems are and will remain generally reserved for large-scale occasions like homecoming, prom, and sporting events. He suggested that additional parking could be provided in areas available in the neighboring parks, adding that the school is working with the Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association on establishing carpooling and rideshare programming.

The Hun School plan will result in the removal of 280 trees of eight inches in diameter or more. The school has put forth a 10-year re-forrestation plan that would tie in with student academic programming. Additionally, the school plans call for planting 165 shade trees, 121 evergreen trees, 202 flowering and understory trees, and over 1,000 shrubs. Township Arborist Greg O'Neil endorsed the school's plan.

go tonext story

Website Design by Kiyomi Camp