Parents and students are being asked to have patience as they attempt to access Watson Elementary, Frank Ohl Intermediate and Fitch High schools this year.
With the sound of bulldozers and stump grinders ringing in the background, members of the Austintown Local School District gathered Wednesday to announce that a portion of Falcon Drive would close on Friday and offered a plan to help eliminate traffic congestion.
The road is being closed during construction of the district’s new kindergarten-through-second and third-through-fifth-grade buildings.
In the district’s new traffic plan:
Parents who plan to drop off Frank Ohl students, in the morning, should access the campus by turning on Falcon Drive from Idaho Road and have their child exit the vehicle in front of Watson Elementary.
The student can walk the sidewalk to enter their building’s front door.
Parents should then continue past Watson and exit onto Idaho Road.
School buses will unload Frank Ohl students in front of the school, and parents will not be permitted to access that drive.
In the afternoon, students who walk or get picked up will not be released until about 2:30 p.m. or when the buses have loaded children and left.
To avoid congestion, parents should arrive after that time.
Parents who drop off Watson students in the morning, should have their child exit the vehicle in front of Frank Ohl Intermediate after they access the drive from Idaho Road.
Children will walk the sidewalk and enter through Watson’s side door.
After dropping off a student, parents should continue past Frank Ohl, turn left on Falcon Drive and exit onto Idaho Road.
School buses will unload Watson students directly in front of the school and for safety reasons, parents may not use that drive.
After school, walkers or students who get picked up will not be released from Watson until buses have loaded school children and left.
Parents should not plan on arriving to pick their child up until after 3:45 p.m.
A crossing guard will be posted near the construction gate to help children cross Falcon Drive.
Austintown Superintendent Vince Colaluca said it’s been a tough feat to coordinate everything but the district was committed to keeping a promise it made to voters regarding keeping Watson Elementary and Frank Ohl Intermediate open during construction.
“We need to ask for patience,” said Colaluca.
He asked that parents and students be courteous to surrounding businesses and encouraged Fitch students who live north of the school to use Mahoning Avenue and Raccoon Road so they can enter the campus near the Austintown library.
During construction, the district recommends that all eligible students ride the bus to help eliminate congestion problems.
Bus information cards for Austintown students will be mailed.
Pick-up times are 6:45 a.m. for Fitch, Frank Ohl and all non-public schools, 7:25 a.m. for Austintown Middle School and 8:10 a.m. for kindergarten through third-grade elementary schools.