Leaders at Covenant Christian Academy want to add a football field, baseball facility and underground parking garage to campus by 2032.The institution’s headmaster shared the campus’s future site plans during the first reading of an ordinance to rezone a portion of the academy’s land for commercial development at a recent Colleyville City Council meeting. The City Council will vote on the ordinance at a future meeting.Headmaster Kevin Castello said he wanted to introduce the plan to keep intentions transparent and comprehensive.“We believe this campus would be one of those destinations to bring economic development to Colleyville,” he said.The zoning change is necessary for the school, which educates from pre-k to 12th grade, to expand and amend the current site plan.The plan outlines work and new facilities extending to 2037, including:• A fire lane around the football/soccer field, to be completed by 2017.• Addition of 42,400 square feet to the secondary school building, completion scheduled by 2017.• A new, lighted 450-seat baseball stadium on top of an underground 400-space parking garage, to be completed by 2022.• Adding 27,000 square feet to the administration building, slated for 2032 completion.• Construction of a 50,000 square foot gymnasium, to be completed by 2037.Approving these structures is not mandatory for the rezoning of the school that sits on the city’s southern border with Bedford. City staff and the Planning and Zoning Commission asked the school to return with a new traffic study and a more detailed building plan for the new baseball and football stadiums.“If Council approves this, it’s really step one of approvals,” said Ron Ruthven, Colleyville community development director.The city sent out notifications to neighbors and received one letter of concern and 229 letters of support before the meeting.Three Bedford residents who live near the campus spoke to the Council.Bedford resident Shelley Zak said the expansion will lower her property value and interrupt her way of life.“How we can approve all this stuff right now when it’s going to take years to raise funds for all this stuff,” she said. “Yesterday morning going to work, there’s soccer practice with just the coach and some kids and parents on the bleachers, I could hear them from my backyard.“There is no way anyone can tell me I can’t hear a football game with 1,950 spectators on the other side of my fence or see lights.”In 2009, the Council passed an ordinance that prohibited athletic lighting for night time illumination. While the presented plan did not include lights, the plan included space and poles for lights.Headmaster Castello said the academy had five meetings with neighbors to discuss and share plans.Castello said neighbors didn’t want bright lights or a large indoor facility so they designed the football field concept with a half roof that, he said, would block the lights from the neighbors’ views.“It is our great desire that the neighbors of Covenant Christian Academy be blessed by our own development,” he said.He also said CCA will plant trees around the campus as a buffer, and if desired will plant trees in neighbors’ yards.James Halpert, a Colleyville business owner and Southlake resident, spoke in support of the rezoning and concept plans.Halpert said he sent three children through the school and although they’ve graduated, he supports the school that gave his kids a good education.“This plan meets or exceeds other facilities at other schools,” he said. “I think this is potentially an extremely important feather in Colleyville’s cap.”He said the facilities will improve the athletic experience for the students.“Sports and activities are such an important part of that time of your life,” he said.Halpert’s son, Morgan graduated from CCA in 2007 and played baseball, basketball and football.He said when he played baseball his freshman year, the team practiced at a field 20 minutes away from the school. The following year, they practiced on the football field. Ultimately games were played 40 minutes away at Fort Worth Christian.“There’s no home field advantage,” Halpert said.Bedford resident Gary Zak shared concerns about lights and traffic.“Neighborly means you consider what your neighbors are going through,” he said.
Dustin L. Dangli, 817-390-7770