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Jemison officials develop school traffic plan

Heading off a problem before it could arise, school and city officials worked together to develop a traffic plan for the opening of the new Jemison Intermediate School.

Now, they can only wait and see how well the plan works.

The new school, located adjacent to Jemison Elementary School, will bring to the area about 600 more students and employees, many of whom will share entrance and exit routes with more than 900 JES students and about 100 more employees.

“We wanted something in place before school started, and we had a really good conversation,” JES principal Louise Pitts said about a group that included fellow principal Mark Knight, school superintendent Keith Moore, school transportation supervisor Joe Dennis, Jemison city councilman George Brasher and others.

The meeting produced a detailed plan. In the mornings, all parents dropping off students will use the far east entrance, or the road nearest to County Road 51. JES parents will circle around in front of the school, while JIS parents will continue straight down the road, beside JES and behind JIS, before unloading students on the west side of the new school.

The afternoon pick up routes will be the same at JIS, but JES parents will, as they did last year, pick up students on the east side of the school.

Buses will use one route to drop off and pick up students at both schools, driving by the west side of the elementary school and in front of the intermediate school.

Jemison Elementary tested the routes for the last couple of weeks of the last school year, and a letter and traffic map was sent home with students’ final report cards.

“We’re hoping, but we won’t know until we get out there and see how it works,” Knight said about the plan. “It will be trial and error. We hope everybody will be patient with us.”

Any problems would likely be compounded the first few days of school because parents, especially of kindergarteners, are more likely to drive their children to school instead of letting the bus pick them up.

Knight encouraged anyone with questions about traffic or any other issue related to JIS to attend the school’s registration and open house from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 6.

Also, traffic rules will be posted online at www.chilton.k12.al.us/JMS/jms.htm.