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CCISD continuing plans for new Carroll campus despite safety concerns from Navy

The land purchased for the new Mary Carroll High School campus is part of a crash zone for the nearby Navy training airfield.

KRIS 6 Investigates has confirmed the Navy recommended in March that Corpus Christi ISD not build the new high school in that area. The reason is because that area is where Navy pilots are beginning their flight training, and a portion of that land is in what the Navy calls an accident potential zone, known as APZ.

School officials said those concerns have been addressed.

“They had more concerns with the school being in the flight path,” said John Dibala, CCISD construction project manager. “….We actually took that recommendation and moved it out of the flight zone.”

CCISD provided KRIS 6 Investigates with a layout of the new campus to show where the school building was located before the Navy raised concerns, and then re-located afterwards.

The change means the athletic fields for the new high school will be built in the flight path and a future crash zone. And that’s concerning to some Carroll Tiger parents.

“If that’s the case, then they should really look for a different location, especially if the Navy doesn’t recommend it,” said Juan Almaguer, who has three children at Carroll High School.

The Navy’s recommendation follows a simple concept: to avoid the potential of a plane crashing into a building with lots of people inside of it.

The new school has been designed to hold more than 2,000 students – and the risk of a crash is there. It’s a risk that CCISD considered.

“We don’t know of an accident that’s happened around this training base,” Dibala said.

In fact, two Navy fliers were killed when their T-34 trainer crashed in January 2006. The plane went down in a residential area off in the area of Yorktown and Waldron roads.

The other reason the Navy recommended against a school being built in the area near Cabaniss Field is the noise caused by low-flying Navy planes.

“You know, with the buildings that we’re building right now, the students won’t even be able to hear those planes,” Dibala said.

Although, the $210 million bond proposal that would fund the new high school still needs voter approval, public land records show CCISD bought some of the land on Oct. 4 – more than a month before Election Day.

District spokeswoman Leanne Libby confirmed CCISD has closed on the rest of the land needed and that CCISD stayed within the district’s $10 million budget set aside for that land purchase. Libby did not disclose the exact amount paid.

If voters approve the bond, that money will be reimbursed to the general fund, according to CCISD.

CCISD officials issued a statement late this afternoon, which said the district had taken safety and flight activity into consideration when selecting the site.

There is  another new high school under construction near Cabaniss Field. It’s being built by the School of Science and Technology – a local charter school. The property for that new school is not located in a crash zone, but it’s close to one, according to city of Corpus Christi planning officials who study those maps for new development requests.

 

Jessica Savage

Jessica Savage

Award-winning investigative reporter who has worked in East Texas and South Texas.
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