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New Gainesville Middle School crossing guard to help ease commute
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The addition of a crossing guard is expected to ease bus traffic concerns at Gainesville Middle School.

“There was a sign that said ‘Buses only, bus entrance only,’” Principal Ken Martin said. “It didn’t work, believe it or not.”

The entrance in question is where Quarry Street and Lakeview Drive meet Community Way, the road leading up to the school from Jesse Jewell Parkway. Martin said bus drivers and parents have expressed concerns over vehicles blocking that entrance and creating a safety hazard.

“Some parents were pulling in there, dropping their kids off, making a quick little loop and going back out,” Martin said. “They didn’t want to wait in line.

“In the afternoon ... our car-rider line is probably less than 10, 12 minutes tops,” he added. “In the morning, depending on the weather, it could be a little bit longer.”

A guard would send the traffic up to Jesse Jewell Parkway, to turn into the front entrance of the school so the vehicles would enter the car-rider line.

“The purpose of the guard is to accommodate car traffic?” board member Sammy Smith asked.

“To redirect car traffic,” Martin replied. “It was originally designed for a bus entrance only. It will be more efficient.”

The Gainesville school board approved the crossing guard position at its Tuesday meeting, for the cost of $1,512 over the rest of the school year. Martin said he was going to see if an already-employed crossing guard could fit the timing into his or her schedule, but is open to hiring as soon as possible.

Parents will be notified via a flyer and phone call from the school when the change takes place.

“I’m sure once they know they can’t go in there, they won’t go that way anymore,” board Chairwoman Maria Calkins said.

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