THE JOYS OF PACKING BIG ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS INTO TIGHT PLACES
More than once this year, traffic has been backed up from the Eastwood Elementary campus in Morgantown into the state highways roundabout on the city’s edge. What a shock: when you build schools at the intersection of major highways over the objections of the parents and the community, you are creating built-in problems of your own making, such as unnecessary congestion and pollution and a variety of unsafe conditions, including tractor trailers carrying who-knows-what pulling into the school grounds during rush hour and getting stuck, thinking they are on state highways. Ever worsening the problem, the BOE has approved a six classroom/150 student expansion of Eastwood to bring the total on-campus enrollment to 670 students, at the least. Now ground has been broken on the expansion, further fouling up the parking lot and traffic. “It will still be a small school with 450 students,” the BOE had promised parents scant years before. No one believed them then, but the BOE could not be stopped and so parents continue to wrestle with the mess. It’s a safety hazard any way you look at it.**
Another Monongalia County elementary school campus is currently causing headaches for parents, students, and drivers. At nearby Cheat Lake Elementary, enrollment has boomed, up to 834 students last year as compared to 644 students three years prior. Now enrollment has apparently reached 850 students or more, so guess what? Morning drop-off hours are chaos. Buses can’t get in, parents can’t get in, students can’t get in and get to breakfast on time. The traffic jam is a food issue and a safety issue at the least. The doors open too late and the school continues to fail to make the badly needed accommodations. The parents are moving on the issue and should not only petition the school but jam the Principal and Superintendent’s office with phone calls until they see some some responsible action. Large schools in tights spaces are problems that create additional problems. Mon Schools should think twice before making these mistakes over and over again.
Cheat Lake Elementary parents are working overtime on this issue – details at their Facebook site – trying to fill the void where the BOE has failed.
The motto of Monongalia County BOE seems to be, their way or the highway. Or more accurately, their way and too damn bad about the highways.
**During the farcical US Department of Education meeting at Eastwood last Friday, school-release traffic backed up into the state highways roundabout, causing a WV state senator to be gridlocked and unable to reach a parking spot, so he parked in the school drive ditch. The gathering was reported as a triumphant success; the USDE representative said the architect of the school should receive an award. The school interior may have some merits – how could it not given the many millions that went into the building? – but the school location, which the architect in a phony and deceitful manner helped the BOE select, should continue to be condemned.