Valley High School tennis court to become 'green' parking lot

The New Kensington-Arnold School District board has agreed to make an old tennis court "greener."
 The unused tennis court at Valley High School will be transformed into an environmentally friendly parking lot by the Westmoreland Conservation District.

Mike Orr, facilities director for the school district, said the conservation district will present a final design to the school board before seeking contractors next month.

The project would be completed this summer.

Preliminary designs offered in January by Rob Cronauer, the conservation district's watershed specialist, showed parking configurations for 30 to 40 cars and surfaces ranging from grass to "porous" concrete.

Orr recommended the option with the largest amount of parking, which officials believe offers the best traffic pattern.

Orr suggested using the surface that is a mix of concrete paving stones and gravel, believing it would be easiest to maintain.

The parking lot will be in front of the high school near the Northern Westmoreland Career and Technology Center.

It likely will be used by staff and for overflow parking during events.

Cost for the conversion has not been established, but Cronauer said the conservation district will pay for the project through grants obtained by the Pucketa and Chartiers Creek Watershed Association. The district may help with some labor, including removing an old fence surrounding the tennis court.

The parking lot is part of a larger project to reduce flooding on and near the high school property and to improve stormwater management in the watershed.

The conservation district already has worked on Pucketa Creek at the high school, improving the stream banks and better channeling water and sediment.

Although the parking lot is not likely to have a significant impact on flooding at the high school, Cronauer hopes it will serve as an example to developers and municipalities upstream.

Better stormwater management upstream will lessen the possibility of flooding downstream.

Board President Bob Pallone has expressed an interest in working with New Kensington to create "green" parking lots at Memorial Park, just upstream from the high school.

Board members have said they would support converting other parking areas at the high school into more environmentally friendly lots that will allow water to permeate the ground slowly and not overwhelm the creek.

Cronauer has suggested creating a basin between the high school athletic fields and Route 366 to contain large debris, sediment and flood water.

That would prevent debris from building up in front of the high school and causing flooding.
Westmoreland Conservation District
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