Two weeks after resistance by a vocal minority of neighbors delayed its plans, Nardin Academy Monday won city approval for a new gym and health building on its Elmwood Village campus.
By a 4-2 vote, the Buffalo Planning Board gave assent to a proposal by the school to construct a two-story rear addition at 135 Cleveland Ave., with a wellness facility on the first floor and a full-sized gymnasium on the second floor, with bleacher seating for 482. The gym would be elevated above a parking area.
The building would include offices, restrooms, locker rooms, storage space and a concessions and bookstore, and it would be linked by a pedestrian bridge to the other buildings. The project would create a new plaza area inside the campus, taking drop-off and pickup traffic off Cleveland for 20 to 25 cars at a time, and add 15 parking spaces.
The project was approved after school officials addressed several items of concern to neighbors and the Planning Board, including landscaping, stormwater retention, a decision to reduce the lighting under the addition at 11 p.m. and an agreement by RP Oak Hill Building Co. to push the daily construction schedule back one hour, to 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Parking was a factor, with 77 spaces on campus after a loss of 55 parking spaces during construction. Nardin came back with a plan for 120 offsite parking spaces, using the Gallagher Ramp or a surface parking area on the Gates Circle construction site.
That would accommodate the lost spaces for school staff and another 60 spaces for construction workers. Officials agreed to complete the site improvements that create new parking in the initial stage of construction, during summer 2019.
The pale patina green color of a metal panel band around the upper portion of the building was an issue for some, but the majority of board members voted to retain that color – instead of a sandstone alternative. The brick on the rest of the new facility matches the other buildings.
“We were trying to make a statement with the green,” said Jake Schneider of Schneider Architectural Services. “We were trying to add a little color to the campus.”
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