Many school districts are battling with aging facilities and increasing student populations. When the decision is made to construct new facilities, consideration of environmental compliance is required even before the land is purchased. Districts not only need to choose a piece of property that meets the needs of proposed construction, but they need to insure they are not purchasing a property with environmental liabilities. A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment should be incorporated into the due diligence conducted on a property before acquisition.
The property should also be assessed for potential environmental permitting and cultural resource concerns. Section 404 of the Clean Water Act requires a permit and possibly mitigation of impacts to wetlands and other waters of the U.S. A field investigation and delineation of such areas should be conducted during the planning process to determine if a permit will be required and to design the proposed construction in a manner that reduces impacts to such areas.
Public school districts are political subdivisions of the State. This relationship requires school districts to coordinate with the State Historical Preservation Office. Often a detailed investigation of the property for historic and archaeological resources is required to identify if significant cultural resources are present above or below ground.
Additional compliance items to consider prior to beginning a new construction project include an assessment of potential effects to threatened and endangered species and determining if your project requires a storm water pollution prevention plan. The size and location of your proposed construction area will greatly influence the need for and amount of agency coordination necessary for each of these tasks. Whether purchasing property for future facilities or currently in the design phase of constructing new schools or stadiums, Sphere 3 can work with you and your architectural/engineering firm to ensure compliance with environmental and cultural resource regulations.