By Jeff Gallatin
City officials are already reviewing ways to help ease the North Olmsted City Schools’ transition to different traffic patterns and earlier school-day starts next year.
School district officials recently received permission in March from the city Landmarks Commission to demolish an old annex located near the middle school complex off of Butternut Ridge Drive. Officials hope to have the structure razed in time for the start of the 2013-2014 school year, so they can have a new traffic pattern for buses and parents picking up and dropping off students in the area. In addition, the school board recently approved earlier starting times for all district students starting next year. Both the middle and high schools will be starting their school days 15 minutes earlier next year. Both city and school officials say the changes will affect traffic patterns and safety issues.
North Olmsted police Chief Jamie Gallagher said the city has already begun looking into different ways the changes will affect the schools and their surrounding neighborhoods.
“(School resource officer and North Olmsted police officer) Jim Carbone is already getting started on doing traffic counts to see what we might need to do and how to best handle vehicles going through the different areas,” Gallagher said. “Having schools in neighborhoods is different as opposed to being located directly off main roadways, so we want to take a look and see what we can do to make the transition easier.”
In addition, Gallagher said he already has held some initial talks with City Engineer Pete DiFranco about possible changes that could be made to traffic patterns and areas where buses and parents’ vehicles go with the annex scheduled to come down and the earlier start and release times for district students.
“It looks like he’ll be able to develop some interesting ideas that we’ll be going over with school district officials as we get more into developing them and seeing what the district ends up doing on the properties.”
School district officials have indicated that with the annex scheduled to come down, they would like to set up different areas for school buses and parents in vehicles who are picking up and dropping off students in the area.
Gallagher said city officials also have met with interim school Superintendent Terry Krivak and other school officials, adding they will have additional sessions about the upcoming changes.
Krivak said the district and the city should be able to reach some good conclusions as to how to handle the changes as the work develops.
Middle school Principal Tom Dreiling said they are working on the best ways to ensure as smooth a traffic flow as possible in that area.
“That’s where having the annex gone will make a difference for us,” he said.