LOGAN — Chapmanville councilman Ben DesRocher brought a few questions and concerns before the Logan County Board of Education on Tuesday, March 23, the most significant of which was the traffic issue at Chapmanville Intermediate School.
During afternoon school dismissal, traffic sometimes backs up from the schools all the way to the Speedway convenience store, which is approximately 0.8 miles on the other end of town, DesRocher said.
“I think the problem has to do with parents not being able to get out of their cars to go pick up their kids and, to that, I kind of understand that idea, but with social distancing, you could have parents lined up down the sidewalk there along the playground there to pick up their kids. I feel that could be socially acceptable and help alleviate our traffic system.”
DesRocher said the problem typically lasts about an hour and a half, from 2:30-4 p.m. He expressed concern that the amount of traffic can pose a problem for emergency services needing to get through during that time of day.
“The problem down there is there are schools all scrunched up in city limits because no one in Logan County wanted to move those schools outside of city limits,” said Logan County Schools Assistant Superintendent Dingess Adkins. “So, now you’ve got an infrastructure issue. It’s more than just a traffic issue. There’s not enough roads to get the people in and get the people out, and I think it’s a much bigger problem than just parents putting kids on the bus.”
DesRocher noted that the traffic problem also existed before the COVID-19 pandemic, which Dingess Adkins agreed with. She said she has met with the Chapmanville-area prevention resource officers and school staff.
“They are working hard at it, but it was an issue before COVID, and I expect it to be an issue after COVID,” Dingess Adkins said. “Unfortunately, we’ve jammed all those schools, and we brought (East Chapmanville Grade) over there, and we’ve got 15-18 buses coming into that little space, in and out, and it is an issue, and it’s one I don’t think anyone thought about.”
DesRocher also said the basement of the old East Grade Chapmanville Grade School, which was demolished last summer and the basement filled in, has now settled due to rain and snow. He said the problem has created stagnant water, a habitat for mosquitoes, and asked if the area can be filled in further.
DesRocher also said that part of Chapmanville Regional High School is not within town limits — specifically the science wing, tennis courts and a square property used for overflow parking. He asked board members if they would be open to annexation.
DesRocher also asked board members if they would be open to the town moving the annual Apple Butter Festival back to the high school area. Since construction on the new Chapmanville Intermediate School began in 2017, the festival has been held on the other end of town near the Tracy Vickers Community Center and fire department.