Lonedell administrators continue to look for ways to improve student safety at and around their school.
During the November and December R-XIV school district board of education meeting, Superintendent Jen Ulrich provided updates on safety measures that have been completed or could be in the works in the future.
One project Ulrich would like to see implemented is providing a sidewalk for students as they walk to and from the nearby Westwoods subdivision.
“We have hit roadblocks in the past, but it is a much-needed addition for the safety of our students,” she said about the pathway, adding that she and Principal Sue Emmons have met with a representative from the Missouri Department of Transportation to discuss the situation.
Westwoods is located about 500 feet to the south of the school on Highway FF.
In December, Ulrich told board members that she has received permission from MoDOT to use its right of way between the school and the subdivision, but a lot of planning and securing of funds needs to happen first.
“We would really like for this to happen,” Ulrich told The Missourian.
A second safety measure discussed in the past is adding flashing yellow school zone lights north and south of the school entrances on the highway as well as a reduction in speed limits for vehicle traffic near the school.
Three years ago, MoDOT sent a traffic engineer to the site. It was decided at that time there were not enough accidents to warrant adding the lights or even reflective stripes on the curve signs on the highway near the school.
“We are continually looking at the need for reduced speed and signage,” Ulrich told The Missourian. “We are in the process of contacting MoDOT for consideration to become a school zone. It is my understanding that this would require another traffic study of the area.
“We will continue to work with MoDOT to do whatever we can to increase safety on the roads near our campus.”
Safety is Ulrich’s main concern.
“It can be dangerous for cars, buses and the students themselves,” she said. “We just want to make sure our school, including getting to and from it, is as safe as possible.”
Ulrich said she has been in contact with at least a couple of parents who share her concerns about safety around the school, especially on Highway FF.
“You may see petitions being started in our community to gain signage for our school zone and along some of our county roads,” she told school board members. “This was the avenue recommended by the MoDOT officials, and it may even be worth pursuing as a district.”
Ulrich also informed board members that classroom locks along the front hallway doors have been changed.
“Switching out these locks allows our staff the ability to lock their doors from the inside rather than having to have a key and going outside their door to lock it,” Ulrich said.
The superintendent said that either new locks or doors will be placed on other classrooms in the school.
“This will be the last phase of this project,” Ulrich said, “and all classrooms in our building will be upgraded.”
The safety improvements are part of an overall package approved by school board members earlier this year. The improvements have included new phone and surveillance systems, replacing outside doors, and improving security around the preschool and front entry areas.