RICHMOND — Construction of the new parking lot and bus loop at Richmond Elementary School is complete, just in time for the start of the new school year today.
The new design provides separate areas for both the school bus loop and the area where parents drop off their children.
The new arrangement provides two entrances and exits for both buses and parent drop-off. Additional sidewalks were installed around the bus loop and interior parking spaces for staff were added. More parking for staff and parents were created and new paths will now guide people from the two different offsite parking lots to the building.
Superintendent of Schools Barry Ricci said the traffic concerns at Richmond Elementary School are a problem that the district has been trying to address for quite some time.
“When you design drop-off and pick-up, you never want vehicles and buses mixing,” he said. “And at Richmond School, buses and vehicles were mixing. That’s not safe.”
The estimated cost of the project to date is $631,000. The district will pay 39 percent of the cost through money allocated in the current budget and the state will pay for 61 percent.
The configuration was designed by Robinson Green Beretta Architects and built by D’Ambra Construction Co.
“The signage is done, the stripping is done, the lines are drawn, the grass seeds have been planted, and it looks amazing,” Richmond school Principal Sharon Martin said.
Martin said traffic issues in front of Richmond school have been a safety concern for many years.
“What would happen is that parents would wait in a long line to try to drop off, and then they may be blocked by a bus, or a bus may be blocked by a parent. It just created unnecessary issues,” she said. “It's crowded and it could be dangerous.”
Martin added, “The new design will alleviate the traffic concerns and will ensure the safety for our students, staff, and our buses."
The project also included the renovation of a memorial around the flagpole in memory of the late Dewey R. Lawing, a custodian who passed away unexpectedly in 1983.
“They added fresh stone and rearranged the memorial stone so that it could be visible," said Martin. “I was actually able to get in touch with a teacher who was critical to the design of that memorial and got to hear a little bit more about it."
There were two memorials that were removed during construction, one of them being a crimson maple tree dedicated to a drug-free school project and the other being a peace pole. The school has plans to replace and rededicate these memorials with the help of the PTO.
Overall, Martin said she was pleased with the work that was done and is appreciative that the parking lot and bus loop are ready for the start of the school year.
“The project is finished and we’re ready to go,” she said.