Student safety improved at Coalhurst Elementary

 page image
Posted on:

School News

Students race to buses parked along the new loop in front of Coalhurst Elementary School on a cold afternoon.

COALHURST – Safe and caring learning environments don’t only apply to the classroom.

A recent Palliser Regional Schools’ capital project at Coalhurst Elementary School should provide a level of comfort and safety for both students and neighbours.

The first phase of the project, which entailed building a new bus loop on school property, was completed a few weeks ago. The second phase, which involves construction of a new parking lot, should be ready for the 2017-18 school year.

Principal Chris McIntyre says student safety was the No. 1 priority.

“First thing is we were hoping to have the bus drop-off moved off the road,” he says. “Now we have three buses that roll in and it keeps everything a little closer to the building.”

The new parking lot will be located where the old, wooden playground used to be in front of the school. That structure was torn down for safety reasons and the community rallied to put up a new playground area behind the school.

“That is going to be a huge boost for parking, which is virtually non-existent at this time. I’m sure the neighbours will be appreciative of the work that is being done once we pull parking off the street as much as we can,” says McIntyre of the new parking lot, which will offer space for both staff and visitors.

The new bus arrangement will also allow more curbside space for those parents picking up or dropping off their children at school.

Since the changes were made there have been a few incidents with visitors entering the one-way loop from the wrong direction, parking in handicapped spots without the appropriate stickers, and failing to heed the reduced speed limit of 10 km/h. Signage was recently added, and he says that should help clear up questions visitors may have had.

“It’s been a little bit of a learning curve for folks overall but for the most part it’s been really good,” says McIntyre.

There have been some changes suggested by parents, and the principal says once the current layout and rules have been given the appropriate time to see how things flow, things could be tweaked.

“We’re all about flexibility,” he says.