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City schools to look at traffic, pedestrian safety
Faculty says there have been many near-accidents on Century Place
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School officials are concerned about the safety of teachers and students on the road connecting Gainesville High School, Centennial Arts Academy and Wood's Mill High School.

"There is a staff and student safety issue with Wood's Mill Road in the curve between Wood's Mill and Centennial," Board Member Sammy Smith said. "There have been some near-accidents and some student safety matters."

There is staff parking on both sides of Century Place next to Centennial.

"As teachers and children are getting out of their cars, they're having near-misses with the cars and buses coming through (and) the cafeteria staff in the morning and the custodians as they're taking the breakfast trash out," said Charlene Williams, principal at Centennial.

Williams said this has been a concern for years, ever since Wood's Mill High was the former Gainesville Middle School and students would walk up to the campus.

"We are in need of a big-picture revamp looking at the high school, Centennial and Wood's Mill," Smith said. "We need a new sort of master plan for those campuses which are joined, but in the interim I'm hearing (Williams) say we need to take some steps to help students and staff with safety measures."

The road is technically owned by Gainesville, so city officials would need to be included for any major redesign. Board Member Maria Calkins suggested a raised pedestrian crossing as a possible solution in the meantime.

Williams also suggested a potential traffic light study for cars leaving the campuses to turn onto Pearl Nix Parkway, but Smith said the blind curve needed to be the main concern for the time being.

The board approved Smith's motion to further examine the road and find at least a temporary solution to the safety issue.

Other business

  • Board Member Delores Diaz commended the Gainesville Middle School robotics team, the Robopachyderms, on making it to the state finals after only being in existence for four months.
  • The school board adopted the 2012-2013 school calendar with 180 school days and 190 days for teachers. No furlough or reduced work schedule days were added.
  • More than 100 trees will be planted at City Park to replace those removed last week as part of the P.K. Dixon Field House construction. One group associated with the project is offering Leyland Cyprus trees to neighbors who wish to have an additional border.