START OF SCHOOL TOPICS
As we have started the school year, there have been some questions that have come across my desk along with some observations regarding our buildings and areas. I thought I would take some time to comment on the issues.
One of the questions that has come by the desk has been about the house constructed by the Carpentry class during the 2016-2017 school year. It is still on our campus and we have had some inquiries about what is being done with the house.
The original plan with the house was to construct it over a two-year period. Last year was the first year of the project and the core of the house was completed. The idea for the second year was to finish any external work but then to do internal construction as well to finish off the house before putting it up for sale.
As the work was done last year, we had a number of inquiries about selling the house “as is” without finishing the construction. Because of the inquiries, advertisements were made to take bids on the house at the stage of construction we had completed.
We received a bid on the house that met the minimum expectations for the sale. The bid was accepted and we did sell the house on the “as is” basis. As the sale was completed, arrangements were being made to relocate the house.
Shortly after, we were asked by the buyer of the house if we would consider continuing with the project to complete it in the two-year cycle—as we originally intended. After some internal discussion, we determined that the Carpentry class would be able to continue with the work.
We had to make some adjustments to the process because the house now belongs not to the district but the purchaser, but the class will continue with the second year of the construction project to complete as much as the new owner desires.
If you drive by the west side of the secondary building, you will probably notice the construction work on the roof of the area essentially over the Middle School gym and swimming pool spaces. We have a scheduled cycle of roof repair and quotations for this project were taken earlier in the year.
Although the fall of the year, and after the start of school, is a somewhat unusual time for the project to be carried out, we were able to secure a better price for the project by shifting to the “off-season” for roofing projects. There is considerable demand for roofing work during the summer. Shifting our project to the fall allowed the contractors to be assured of an extended season—which also allowed for a better quotation environment.
As with any kind of project involving asphalt, there are certainly odors in conjunction with the project. Those who have established and monitored the project have taken all steps to minimize any potential hazards and to bring the work into compliance with appropriate standards.
CSE LOADING AND UNLOADING
Over the past couple years, we have been taking specific steps to try to improve the vehicle travel into the Cold Spring Elementary building at the start and end of the school day. We want to use the “loop” through the CSE parking area as a drop-off route before school and as a pick-up route after school. One of the goals is to keep traffic moving as efficiently as possible.
The sidewalk across the east side of Cold Spring Elementary is a very nice “cement apron” area for students to be dropped off. The students have a solid base, good visibility, and relatively direct access to the school building.
Two traffic lanes allows much more flexibility and efficiency for vehicles. At the north end, vehicles may choose to enter the striped parking spots to be able to park and/or assist students. Other vehicles, not intending to park, are able to drive across the front of the CSE building to drop students off across the concrete plaza.
We fully understand that some parents want to see and/or walk their students up to or into the building. That is very normal parent-student behavior, especially for parents of the youngest children at the site or for grandparents who may be dropping off students.
What we need parents to understand, however, is that if the driver needs to leave the seat, wants to walk the student to the door, or must go into the building, we need the vehicle to use a parking space. The parking space may be one of the parking spots on the south end of the loop or to use one of the striped parking spaces north of the loop.
We have specifically designated the very last (south end) group of parking spaces as areas to remain open for visitors and parents wanting to walk their students into school. There are actually three rows of spaces designed for this purpose.
Within the loop itself, however, we want to have continually moving traffic! Even though it seems like a short time, the two to three minutes for students to walk to the building can back up quite a bit of traffic. As such, we want to remind drivers (parents and grandparents) to keep moving in the loop and to use appropriate parking spaces if they want to wait, walk, or observe their students entering school.
PICKUP AND DROPOFF
Prior to the start and at the end of the school day, the parking lot between Cold Spring Elementary and the Secondary site is our bus loading and unloading zone. We need vehicles to respect this area both before and after school to provide a safe zone for all of our students. Vehicles traveling through this area while there are 25 buses and about 1800 students moving around is not a good idea.
In the morning, we bring the vast majority of our students into this area to drop them off for school. After 7:45 in the morning, we need all vehicles other than buses to stay out of the drop area in order to provide a safe zone for all of our students. The school buses have a specific route to drop off students at the secondary site and then the elementary site. We have students walking between the buildings as well. Any traffic through the zone is very dangerous and disruptive to the process.
Beginning about 2:45 in the afternoon, the area also becomes our bus loading zone for all of the students at the Cold Spring campus. In addition, all students from the other sites who ride the bus also arrive in shuttle buses and transfer to their route to go home. All of the buses used for our regular routes arrive in the parking lot after 2:30. Students begin loading buses just before 3:00. The buses depart from the area about 3:10. As with the morning, any traffic through the zone is very dangerous and disruptive to the process.
We ask our School Resource Officer, along with the Cold Spring Police Department, to patrol this area in order to redirect traffic on the campus. We do not want to ticket or penalize people, but if the vehicle traffic continues in the area, we really have no choice—we must keep the area safe for students.
Of course, the south parking lot at the high school is our student parking area. Traffic into and out of this area at the beginning and the end of the day can be challenging as the area is very busy!
Although the parking lots are not “through streets” at any time, after 7:45 in the morning, we need vehicles to stay out of the drop area in order to provide a safe zone for all of our students.