The Department of Planning and Natural Resources Coastal Zone Management division board members met for a decision meeting on July 28, voting on permits for the redesign and reconstruction of Charlotte Amalie High School, the renovation and reconstruction of Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School, and the placement of a fuel storage facility in Estate Bovoni.
Board members voted in favor of the permit to use FEMA funds to redesign and reconstruct CAHS. In June 2022, the Education Department applied to DPNR to redesign and reconstruct the school. This project calls for the complete construction of a new school campus, including classrooms, administrative offices, a library, cafeteria, kitchen, bathrooms, stairways, balconies, hallways and all fixtures, equipment, and contents.
“Last week I was very displeased with the site visit, mainly because we had no drawings and everything was verbal,” said CZM board member Winston Adams.
He shared concerns about the school not having an access road, asbestos, water lines hanging over walkways that have been condemned but not yet removed, and the landfill accepting concrete waste.
Jawanza Hilaire also shared concerns regarding “greater safety concern for students,” such as safety evacuations, stairwells and an elevator, the control of runoff water and sediment, and parking.
Chaneel Callwood, architect of school construction for the Department of Education, responded that the plan designs for the school are 30 percent complete. She added that the department is in discussion with the Schneider Hospital and property owner of the soon-to-be mosque behind the Wheatley Skill Center, to build an access road around the school. According to Callwood, the Education Department will widen and improve the utility road that already exists that the mosque and hospital connect to.
Pertaining to the commencement of the project, Callwood said that input is still needed from DPNR and the Historic Preservation Committee. The Education Department is still six to nine months away from selecting an architect and contractor for the project. Once that is done, a campus architectural team comprised of community stakeholders will be developed to provide input for concerns.
CZM director, Marlon Hibbert, added that the steel and crushed concrete waste from the demolition will be recycled for road construction projects. Other debris will hopefully be shipped off island. Callwood noted that the demolition will be done with local funds and said that they are hoping to dispose of waste on island to reduce costs.
Concerning BCB, the project includes transitioning the school into a PreK-8th grade campus. It will include the renovation or modernization of existing classrooms, new PreK-5th classrooms, administrative offices, a library, cafeteria, theater, kitchen, bathrooms, stairways, balconies, hallways and fixtures, equipment, and contents.
Adams shared concerns of having one road access to the school and Hilaire shared concerns regarding the playground construction, barriers for student safety, insulation and mold prevention in HVAC units.
Board members, however, decided to table the matter due to the division not yet having conducted a site visit.
“We, meaning the commission, have not had an opportunity to visit that site as yet,” said Adams. “So we need to visit that site before we even consider voting on this permit.”
The CZM and Education Department members anticipate a site visit to occur next week.
Lastly, board members approved a permit application for Dry Marina, LLC to construct a fuel storage facility at 17D-1 Estate Bovoni near the Bovoni landfill.
Construction at the site will be for the placement of a 20-foot office trailer, the construction of a 40’x22’ steel frame workshop, a 10’x10’ guard house, a 30’x72’ concrete slab and spill containment system for storing ISO fuel tanks, a 10’x27’ concrete pad for a 3,000-gallon double-walled diesel fuel tank, a 40’ office trailer, a 40’ storage trailer, and a 200-amp electrical service.
Concerns about use variance and residential properties that surround the proposed fuel storage facility were raised.
According to environmental planner Anita Nibbs, during a public hearing concerning the project, the applicant did not receive any raised concerns for the permit.
“The nearest residential structure is in excess of more than 100 feet away from proposed fuel storage,” said Nibbs. “The office is recommending in favor of the use variance being approved with the condition that the distance from the nearest residence be maintained at over 100 feet.”
Hilaire highlighted that the location is “only one acre” and in a “very combustible zone.” He was concerned about containment.
Caterinna Baesse, a representative from Petroleum Brokers, said that the containers “are double-walled. They are the safest tanks in the industry because they are designed for maritime travel.” She added that they can withstand 110% of their fuel.
CZM members Jawanza Hilaire, Wisnton Adams, Karl Percell, and Kai Smith were present.