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New school in MW worries residents of Wilchar Estates

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By The Staff

MOUNT WASHINGTON - The construction of a new school is normally a time of excitement, especially for students and teachers attending the new facility.

However, if the school is built literally in your backyard, there may be reasons for concerns.

Such was the case Tuesday as over a dozen residents of Wilchar Estates off Highway 44 East voiced their concerns to members of the Bullitt County Public School Board.

The board is looking to construct its newest elementary school on property it owns behind Mount Washington Middle School.

Residents in the adjoining subdivision, especially those along Justin Trail are not anxious.

“It is squished in there,” said Alice Allen. “I can’t understand it being put in a subdivision.”

She said there is no sidewalks on Justin Trail and having the school in that area will only bring more traffic.

Carl Allen said the subdivision will become a cut-through to the school and to Bardstown Road.

In recent years, he said the new schools have been built off major roads, such as Highway 44.

Allen was the first home in the subdivision and he said Highway 44 was the place to build new schools.

But board member Gary Wooldridge said one of the complaints he gets is that all the schools are built on Highway 44.

Karen Evans said there is no way to get out of Justin Trail onto Highway 44 at certain times of the day. With the school, things will only get worse.

“I’m going to have to move,” said Evans.

Melissa Foley inquired whether other sites had been considered.

Superintendent Keith Davis said there were other tracts were studied and one on Greenbriar Road was under contract; however, the state Department of Transportation did not give its needed approval.

Davis said another reason is that the district has owned the property behind Mount Washington Middle for many years, which saves the cost of property acquisition.

And, educationally, he said it provides an opportunity for students from the two schools to work together on various projects in a campus setting.

“I have a lot of cons about this project,” said Linda Wells.

Moving to the subdivision 10 years ago, Wells said there had been a lot of changes.

James Hill was concerned about the drainage issue. He said there had been problems in the past and the solution was to put some rock in a ditch.

Several residents were concerned because the road serving the school would be directly behind their property. Some inquired whether the school building could be moved to the west and the road relocated to the east side of the school.

Brian Morrow said he could look at board members’ faces and tell they weren’t giving any respect to the residents.

“You don’t care,” said Morrow.

“We do care,” countered board chairman Sammy Allen.

The chairman said he listed all the concerns of the residents and he would talk with architect David Samokar. He said he understood the concerns and would see what the board could do.

The school is slated to open in the fall of 2010.