Mon Schools: Beyond Stupid

MONONGALIA COUNTY SCHOOLS ADMINISTRATION: BEYOND THE PALE

According to the most recent site plan, below, for Eastwood Elementary, parents and children from Woodburn, Jerome Park, Woodland Terrace, and elsewhere will be forced to use WV 705 to enter and exit the new school. Nothing could be more unsafe, inconvenient, impractical or at times impossible.

Others are also endangered and disregarded, including parents and children who need to pick up and be picked up after school and drive downtown using US 119 (Mileground Road), and parents and children who might need to travel from Eastwood to Mountaineer Middle just off US 119 toward downtown.

That means taking up to an extra 5 or 6 mile roundabout loop through some of the most congested and hazardous parts of greater Morgantown to get where you need to go, to get home or downtown from Eastwood, or it means risking getting T-boned by traffic in crossing arterial highway 705 to make the immediate left turn from Eastwood necessary for the much shorter route. That left turn is often so hazardous or logistically difficult-to-impossible that WVDOT may not even allow it.

So where then is the sensible and absolutely necessary second access and egress for the new school? Where is the design, the plan, any details? Nowhere to be found. And nowhere on the most recent Eastwood site plan below. Why?

Is the Mon Schools administration stupid to the point of insanity? Or negligent to the point of criminality? Those seem to be the only two possible explanations. Is Mon Schools purposefully trying to punish and abuse the parents and children who currently attend Woodburn Elementary? Or is this more of a bit of accidental administrative negligence and incompetence?

Obviously an access/egress, or at least a right turn egress, should be built from the parking lot area of Eastwood to Tramore Lane (and thus to the Mileground Road/US 119). This is the only way to provide many students and their parents a much shorter and somewhat less hazardous route back to their homes or to downtown Morgantown.

Amazingly, this access and egress ALREADY EXISTS BUT MON SCHOOLS CURRENTLY PLANS TO GET RID OF IT, PER BELOW.

That’s right. The mobile home parcel being purchased by Mon Schools is served by Tramore Lane but Mon Schools’ most recent and longstanding design and plans disallow such access:

Above: Eastwood Site Plan, posted at BOE Eastwood website, summer, 2011

The Mon Schools design above even erases the road (Tramore Lane) that currently exists leading to and from the schoolgrounds and that will exist whether or not the school makes use of it. We restore the road and access points below, which currently enter and exit the area that would contain the school parking lot:

Above: Eastwood Site Plan with existing extension of Tramore Lane restored and indicated

It should be noted that no option here is safe or appropriate. But adding the secondary access/egress at Tramore Lane is far and away the most sensible design, making the best of what is inherently bad. It would make the Eastwood site at least somewhat less hazardous and less inappropriate, less impractical than the dangerous mess currently planned.

The site will remain unsafe, inconvenient, impractical, wholly dangerous and unhealthy, but at least using Tramore Lane would be a modest improvement – a thoughtful and considerate improvement, badly needed, over the current disaster.

Notice also that no tree lines or forest is planned between arterial 705, the intersection with 119, and the front of the school. It would seem that Mon Schools wants the building to be seen, despite the toxic vehicle exhaust and debilitating traffic noise, including numerous emergency vehicles, sirens blaring to and from the hospitals, toxic fumes and screeches flooding in at the expense of the children’s health. All the areas between the school and the roads should be thickly forested, at least. Stout barrier walls should be used within the foresting too. But Mon Schools heedless of the health risks plans to plant open “fields” of “wildflowers and shortgrass.”

What do they care? Mon Schools has proven time and time again to be beyond stupid these past few years. It’ s a bit surreal. An incredibly expensive school at a major polluted intersection! (Eastwood Elementary) A new school by an industrial park! (Skyview Elementary) A new school on a strip mine! (Mylan Park Elementary) A massive prison-like new high school in the middle of nowhere! (University High) Mon Schools is beyond the pale of reason and responsibility. There is no way in the world that this ridiculous and irresponsible school should be located at this horrible site.

One Response to “Mon Schools: Beyond Stupid”

  1. Maxine Landfried Says:

    We have the same thing happening here in Jackson County. Our Kenna Elementary is scheduled to be built in an industrial park. SBA Director Mark Manchin sees no problem with the site. He has been quoted as saying he will okay any site a board of education chooses. Why does the WVBOE have Policy 6200 when it seems no one is adhering to it?
    We stand by our statement made in 2006 when our board purchased the property in a special meeting held three nights after the bond issue went down 75%/25%, “If a school is ever built at Kenna Ridge (the industrial site) it will prove to be an unsafe, inconvenient and troublesome site.”
    The industrial park has only one entrance/exit road. The board says they are going to make another exit out of the park. At what cost? They told us five years ago, they couldn’t as it would be too expensive. They could have built at the current site where there would have been none of the safety issues that concern us at Kenna Ridge. But no, now they are saying the teachers do not want a two-story school (would be required at the site as the old buildings would be in use during construction). Our BOE has wheeled, dealed and cajoled to get this site approved and the funding appropriated for it.
    It’s a major safety issue for today’s children and the generations of unborn children who will have to go to school at these unsafe sites. We can press for the boards to make some corrective measures on safety. It will be more money they don’t want to spend. In the end, the sites will still be unsafe for children.


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