SFCC and the Sebring Parkway Phase III
The new county budget proposal for the 2010 Fiscal Year includes funding for Sebring Parkway Phase III. This phase of the project connects the existing Phase I of the Parkway to Memorial Drive near the terminus of East College Drive at the Highlands Campus, and then north to Avon Park.
When Phase III of the Sebring Parkway was first considered several years ago, the SFCC Board of Trustees expressed serious concerns regarding the planned alignment of the road. It would have created a significant traffic burden, and consequent safety concerns for the Campus, our students, and the community.
In 2003, we commissioned a traffic study that clearly demonstrated the expected traffic volume. If the Sebring Parkway Phase III were built as proposed, traffic would significantly exceed the design capacity of College Drive. We then worked with county staff and requested the plan be modified in a manner that would resolve our major concerns.
Early in 2005 the county presented a refined plan that showed the Parkway intersecting Memorial Drive near the railroad right-of-way north of College Drive. With this refined plan, there would also be an intersection at College Drive for our students, staff, and community to access the campus from the east. The Sebring Parkway extended northward toward Avon Park, and there was a connector road between US 27 and the Parkway south of Lake Glenada and the Highlands Campus. This new connector road would extend through an area planned for future development. With this refinement, College Drive would be only one of three connectors to US 27, instead of the only connector, and therefore, lessening the traffic load and safety issues that were our primary concern.
We plan to continue discussions with the County to further refine the plan and to ensure that College Drive through our Highlands Campus does not become an extension of the Sebring Parkway Phase III and the primary artery for access to the US 27 Corridor. The road was never intended nor designed to carry that volume of traffic.