Board approves bus lane bid

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

When they met this week, Leavenworth Board of Education members approved a $59,337 bid for the construction of a new bus lane at Henry Leavenworth Elementary School.

The bus lane is being constructed to alleviate the problem of the stacking of vehicles on Vilas Street as parents wait to pick up their children.

Board members approved the concept for the bus lane when they met last month. But at that time, they only had an estimated cost for the project.

Board members voted Monday night to approve a bid from Baker Construction, Leavenworth, for the project.

Matt Dedeke, director of facilities for the school district, said school officials will ask the city of Leavenworth to pay about $26,000 of the cost of the project, which may alleviate traffic congestion around the school.

Dedeke said this will be subject to approval from the Leavenworth City Commission.

School officials hope the work can be completed during the summer, but Dedeke said it is a tight timeframe.

District officials suggested the bus lane may be only the first step in addressing traffic congestion around Henry Leavenworth Elementary School.

"Our plan is to get this going, so this is done before school starts," Roth said of the bus lane. "That's a step in the right direction."

He said school officials can look at how traffic flows around the school once the bus lane is in place.

Jake Potter, director of public relations for the school district, said school officials believe the bus lane will result in between 35 and 40 fewer vehicles being stacked on the street.

Board President Doug Darling noted Monday that there will be fewer students at Henry Leavenworth Elementary next year because kindergarten and prekindergarten classes will be moved to the new Earl Lawson Early Education Center.

Potter said it is anticipated that about 100 fewer students will be attending Henry Leavenworth Elementary School next year because of the relocation of the kindergarten and prekindergarten classes.

Roth said Monday that district officials can work with city staff members for any future plan, which can be presented to the school board and City Commission.

"This is a serious issue," board member Mike Powell said.

He said board members have to be responsible in how they handle the matter.

Board member Mike Carney suggested the city could address the issue by making streets around the school one-way streets.

"The people down there want something done," he said.

Kevin Baker, who lives in the area of the Henry Leavenworth Elementary School, said he did not support the one-way traffic solution because it would hamper his travel to and from home.

Brian Stephens, who also lives in the area, asked board members to have a joint meeting with the Leavenworth City Commission and consider a long-term plan.

"Otherwise, we're just going to have bandaids, and that's all we've had in that area for the last 20 years," he said.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR