The parking lot between École James S. McCormick School (ÉJSMS) and École Lacombe Upper Elementary School (ÉLUES) is a busy place before and after school.
Parents are often dropping and picking up students during a tight timeframe, which can lead to some safety concerns. Over the past few years, numerous requests have been made to Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) for changes to the pickup and drop off zones between the two schools.
After a recent meeting between senior administration of WCPS, staff from the City of Lacombe’s Department of Infrastructure and the Lacombe Police Service, changes will be made to the parking lot and drop off areas during school hours.
“It’s all about student safety,” said WCPS Superintendent Larry Jacobs. “There was a lot of movement in the parking lot and with vehicles in the fire lane, it was becoming dangerous.”
WCPS plans to restrict traffic movement in the parking lot during the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Signage will be put up at both entrances to the parking lot, only permitting WCPS staff and emergency vehicles to enter the parking lot area.
The emergency lane next to the schools will be closed off to all traffic except WCPS vehicles, emergency vehicles and the Connex bus, with the intent the lane will no longer be used as a free-flow lane for parents to drop off students. Jacobs said the adjoining streets would then be used by parents to drop off students to and from school.
“This provision of walking areas will extend from the lights on 54th Avenue and 50th Street up to the cross walk leading into ÉLJHS,” said Jacobs.
WCPS has also planned to construct a student walkway out of cement barriers in order to separate the parking lot into two areas. The intention is that traffic will stop flowing between the two schools, creating a safe walkway space for students.
Jacobs said all the modifications are being put in place for safety of the students and staff of both schools.
“It is also our intent in these modifications to continue to provide alternative drop off and pick up arrangement that meet the needs of our parent community,” he said.
Jacobs said the changes will be implemented during spring break at the end of the month, allowing WCPS staff to put up the signs and place the cement barriers.
“It really gives everyone a fresh start.”