Aug. 28, 2008 — The Public Works and Education departments pledged cooperation during the Cruz Bay roundabout construction project when they met Thursday with Julius E. Sprauve School parents and other residents at the school.
"Safety, safety, safety — the safety of our children," Sprauve Principal Mario Francis said.
At issue is the well-being of students in the lower grades who attend the school's Clarice Thomas Annex. The building sits adjacent to the future roundabout, and Francis assigned a monitor full-time at the Annex to make sure no children are out of the building unsupervised.
The contractor, Island Roads, already tore down a wall near the building, has forms in place to pour a new concrete wall closer to the building and has turned the road between the Annex and the Boulon Center into a one-way street running from the Creek to Centerline Road.
Island Roads plans to do as much of the heavy equipment work as possible after school, evenings and weekends.
"We'll do the breaking of concrete and any type of heavy banging after hours," said Jomo McClean, design program manager at Public Works.
After one teacher complained that two hours of hammering this week impeded her ability to teach, Deputy Superintendent Joseph Sibilly promised that wouldn't happen again.
"You let us know," he said.
Education Commissioner La Verne Terry reinforced Sibilly's comments by pointing out that the contractor vowed to work with the Education Department to ensure as few disruptions as possible.
Yves Juste, a parent with one child at the annex and another at Sprauve School, said after the meeting he was satisfied with the answers from Public Works and the Education Department. He said he had been worried about the disturbances from the roundabout project.
While parents got their concerns answered, the handful of people without children in the schools didn't find out how the roundabout project will progress.
"We came here to talk about the impact on the school. Last summer we presented a detailed plan to the community," McClean said.
He said that Public Works will send out notices about upcoming parts of the project.
After Public Works and Education discussed the roundabout project, the recently retired chief executive officer of the National Parent Teacher Association, Warlene Gary, offered words of encouragement for increasing parent participation in the school's Parent Teacher Student Association.
Gary, on a month-long vacation on St. Thomas from her home in Washington, D.C., called on everyone in the community to join the PTSA to help address changes needed in the schools.
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