FAIRBANKS — The torn up roadway bordering the Catholic Schools of Fairbanks’ pre-kindergarten through grade 12 complex on Illinois Street will not delay school staff from welcoming students back to classrooms next week.
Personnel from the school, Department of Transportation, HC Contractors, First Student school bus service, and Fairbanks police met Wednesday morning and worked out a plan to safely transport students by bus via two approaches from Illinois Street. Access for staff, students and parents is designated via Minnie and Monroe streets. School buses will not use neighborhood roadways.
Although the school opens its doors on Monday, bus service will not be available until Tuesday, the first day of school for the majority of borough school district students. The borough provides bus transportation for the Immaculate Conception and Monroe Junior/Senior High students.
“I think we are going to be in pretty good darn shape,” said Nancy Cook Hanson, Catholic Schools director. “We will be able to separate our bus and car traffic, and we will be efficient and safe. It will require some patience on everybody’s part.”
Hanson expects there will be adjustments on how students park and how parents drop off students, but she is optimistic that any problems will be easily resolved.
According to Tom Laurencelle, assistant project engineer for the Illinois Street Realignment Project, current roadwork in the school’s vicinity is centered on installing a utility duct bank containing electrical and communications cables.
“We hope to be filling that in later this week and a storm drain system will follow,” he said.
Tom Perry, a First Student bus supervisor, said as long as the approach access is completed on Illinois Street, he doesn’t expect any safety problems.
“It’s not an issue of danger, it is an issue of time,” he said, “and we’ll take our time.
Tracy Peede, HC Contractors safety officer, said the school traffic access plan includes placing pedestrian flaggers on Illinois Street as an added safety precaution, both before and after school.
“We are asking parents to access students off of Monroe Street, off of Minnie Street,” Peede said.
Hanson asks that all Catholic Schools parents, students and families planning to attend today’s welcome back celebratory hot dog barbecue and ice cream social from 5:30-7 p.m. on the school lawn access the party via Monroe Street.
Contact staff writer Mary Beth Smetzer at 459-7546.