By Traci Chapman
As Redstone Intermediate School continues to take shape, the condition of roads surrounding the future school site continue to prompt concern by parents and Yukon Public Schools’ officials.
Those concerns involve a dangerous intersection that’s seen half a dozen accidents in the last year; officials and residents alike are also worried traffic volumes created by the new school – built for up to 900 students, administrators have said – could make an already congested area that much worse.
Redstone was part of a $43 million bond initiative. The 120,000-square-foot building – located at the intersection of Mustang and Britton roads – is expected to be online in time for the 2020-21 school year, officials said.
While that opening is good news for the burgeoning area surrounding the site, it’s also a challenge for families living there – and several have made their concerns known on social media as construction continues.
“I hope they widen the streets too – it’s going to be murder going to work in the morning,” Toni Greene-Brown wrote on Facebook. “We already have to go out the back way to avoid the Surrey Hills Elementary traffic going to work.”
Part of the issue is where the school is located, YPS Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth said.
Redstone is within Oklahoma City boundaries; and while traffic concerns posed by Mustang and Britton roads – both thoroughfares single lanes in that area – are legitimate, so too are concerns about where Britton Road crosses Highway 4.
It’s a site Oklahoma City Police Department confirmed Monday has seen six accidents in the last year – and an intersection school administrators and residents alike believe should be governed by a traffic signal.
“The area is just not built for the kind of traffic it’s going to see with the new school,” Simeroth said. “What we’d like to see is a widening of Britton Road and a resurfacing that’s badly needed – that road hasn’t been taken care of in years.”
PARENTS SPEAK OUT
That’s why YPS officials decided to encourage parents to speak out about road conditions now, before Redstone is ready for occupancy, the superintendent said.
During redistricting meetings held last week, YPS provided fliers to attendees encouraging them to present their concerns to Oklahoma City officials.
“Parents as a group can have an important role in presenting this issue to city officials and hopefully getting some action on these roads,” Simeroth said. “Beyond resurfacing the roads, we need to see expansion of them to two lanes, as well as a stoplight at Highway 4.”
While Oklahoma City officials said they understand district and parent concerns about area roads, it’s not that simple – and funding, as always, is part of the issue.
“This is something that we can’t just say, ‘OK, we’ll get right on that,’” Oklahoma City Public Works Director Eric Wenger said. “We can work on resurfacing, but we’ve got to find funding to make things like widening a reality.”
For some parents the issue is black and white – and a concern as Redstone continues to take shape.
“I hope they do widen the streets,” Brittany Travis said. “I will never be able to get out of my neighborhood if they don’t.”