Board reviews traffic solutions for Henry Leavenworth Elementary

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times
The Leavenworth Board of Education met Monday.

When they met this week, members of the Leavenworth Board of Education reviewed proposals that could help alleviate traffic issues around Henry Leavenworth Elementary School.

Superintendent Mike Roth said traffic around the elementary school, which is located at 1925 Vilas St., has been an issue for years.

He said the main issue is the stacking of cars as parents wait to pick up children.

“I know that you all have received emails,” Roth said to board members.

He said the city government also has received emails about the problem.

During Monday’s school board meeting, Matt Dedeke, director of facilities for the district, presented two options for addressing the problem.

Board members took no action regarding the proposals. Dedeke said his presentation was just for informational purposes.

Both options involve the creation of a traffic lane on school property that would create a link between Limit Street and the elementary school’s parking lot. Limit Street runs along the south side of the school property.

“So this would not be a parking solution,” Dedeke said. “This would be a stacking solution.”

Dedeke said the proposals for the traffic loops were drawn up with the help of a local engineer.

The first option Dedeke shared with board members was for a traffic lane that would loop around the southwest portion of the school property. The lane would be long enough to allow the stacking of about 53 vehicles.

The second option would create a longer traffic lane that loops around the west side of the school property. This lane could accommodate the stacking of about 64 vehicles.

This second option would require the removal of a backstop located behind the school.

Dedeke said it is possible either traffic lane could be completed during the summer.

He noted that Henry Leavenworth Elementary should have one less grade level for the 2021-2022 school year. That is because kindergarten classes will be moved to the new Earl Lawson Early Education Center.

“We will have an immediate reduction of a number of students (at Henry Leavenworth Elementary School),” Dedeke said.

Dedeke said either option would create a traffic loop on school property that is only one lane wide.

Board member Mike Powell suggested making the traffic loop the width of two lanes. He said this would allow for the stacking of more cars and increase parking for special activities.

Board President Doug Darling asked about the possibility of widening of Vilas Street as an alternative to the proposals that were presented by Dedeke.

Dedeke said widening of Vilas Street would result in a greater expense to the school district.

Dedeke said he may look at the possible cost of widening the proposed traffic loops to two lanes.

Also Monday, board members authorized a study that will cost $54,899. But approval of the study is contingent on the city of Leavenworth paying half of the cost.

The study would examine erosion along Five-Mile Creek to the south of Richard Warren Middle School and offer possible solutions.

Dedeke said the erosion is already encroaching on a walkway that is maintained by the city. If the erosion continues, it could impact the middle school’s football field.

Dedeke said school district and city officials have discussed doing the study as a joint project.

The study has not yet been brought before the Leavenworth City Commission for approval of a cost split.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR

In other business

The Leavenworth Board of Education:

• Voted to extend the contract of Superintendent Mike Roth for an additional year. Board members also voted to give the superintendent a 4% pay increase.

• Approved a resolution to schedule the election for the positions of board president and vice president in July.

Board members also approved a resolution to wait until July to set meeting dates for future board meetings.