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Committee recommends against additional Bester parking lot

January 19, 2005|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Board of Education's Facilities Committee has decided to recommend the board not build an additional parking lot at Bester Elementary School, school board member Russell Williams said Tuesday night.

Williams serves on the Facilities Committee, said Rodney Turnbough, director of Facilities Management.

If the school board doesn't want the parking lot built, board action will be required to remove it from the capital improvement plan, Chief Operating Officer William Blum said.

Board President Paul Bailey said the board would discuss the issue at a meeting in the near future.

Board Vice President Jacqueline Fischer said she wants to hear why the committee wants to scrap plans for a parking lot north of the school.

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The School Board had sent the parking lot issue to the committee after hearing at a Jan. 4 meeting that a staggered dismissal implemented in mid-November was alleviating some of the traffic congestion in Bester's parking lot.

The board so far has spent $15,000 on the $70,000 parking lot project, Turnbough has said.

At the Jan. 4 meeting, Bester Principal Joanne Hilton said 36 families volunteered to allow 58 students to be dismissed late at 4 p.m. The staggered dismissal was undertaken to ease traffic congestion.

Last week, Hilton said not all of the families who initially volunteered were participating in the late dismissal.

Stacey Nowak, a special education assistant who is helping run the after-school program that keeps the students on late dismissal, said last Thursday that 34 students were participating.

During the 3:30 p.m. dismissal last Thursday, two cars were waiting on South Potomac Street to get into the parking lot.

The vehicle in front of those cars had blocked their entrance to the lot, even though there was room for all three of those vehicles in a second lane in the parking lot. Drivers line up in two lanes, an outer loop and an inner loop, in the parking lot to pick up children after school.

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