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Darrelyn Dollar and Kyler Murphy

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BLOCKED. Students and staff react to the new gate in the parking lot near the North entrance. Last year students and staff were able to drive behind the building and leave through the North exit, but after the new gate was added in, that option is no longer available due to the fact that the gate is closed during dismissal. For some students and staff this raises an inconvenience. After being redirected to the other exit, students and staff take longer to leave at dismissal.

Although some may be inconvenienced by the new gate, not everyone is affected.

“I had to retrain myself to go the other direction, but not a big issue for me,” chemistry teacher Brad Banning said. “It maybe adds a minute or two.”

Whether influenced or not by the gate, many are asking the same question: Why?

“I don’t understand why the gate’s there,” director of the theatre department Laurie Vanderpol said. “Is it to prevent students from speeding down that way?”

Principal Brett Potts cleared up the confusion and answered this common question.

“We put the gate out there for safety purposes,” Dr. Potts said. “We started having a problem, as you know, we’ve had to adjust traffic flow over the years to try to create a safe environment.”

He explains that the new gate is used to solve several issues.

“Right now we have a parent loop that comes in the North entrance/exit and there’s not a light there. So it’s kind of a dangerous intersection. As the year went on last year, we starting having increasing numbers of issues with students that were coming around behind the school and mingling with that parent traffic and also interfering with bus dismissal, so the number one problem was we had students coming around behind and really driving fast,” said Dr. Potts.

Another problem that is being solved has to do with the buses and their dismissal.

“The problem that we had with buses is if they use that North entrance/exit, particularly at dismissal, they bog everything down because it’s really hard for them to make a left-hand turn coming out of there and so when that big bus is stopped there wanting to make a turn with all that traffic, it blocks the vision of the other cars that are trying to get in and out of that spot because they’re so big,” said Dr. Potts. “So we’ve directed the buses around behind the building so you’ll notice that after school, they’ll always

use the main entrance. That’s also because it’s a safety factor for them so they don’t have to cross out of traffic.”

“We decided on the gate because, and this is with consulting with civil engineers, people that are very skilled at looking at traffic flow, we had too much volume at this most dangerous intersection and we needed to decrease the volume,” said Dr. Potts.

These concerns with traffic are only occurring during dismissal rather than arrival. This is because drivers are trickling in and out rather than all at once, as seen in the afternoon. This is why the gate is open during arrival and shortly after school has started, a custodian or security officer is in charge of closing the gate. There is no set time for when the gate opens again.

“By putting this gate here we’re trading a little bit of time and convenience for some people because they might be able to get in and out a little bit quicker if that gate wasn’t there, for safety,” Dr. Potts said. “It’s an easy decision for me.”

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