GCT deals with new school and no traffic light

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - What could be a one time deal or possibly last all week is the busing of Greene County Tech Sr. High students to their new building on Highway 49.

High School Student Bethany Summers was not a real happy camper on this first day of school, 2012.

Summers, "We have to drive here then bus over there and then get back here and drive back home."

"Here" is the old GCT High School and "there" of course is the new GCT High School. For Bethany, this trip was 15 wasted minutes.

I asked her, how close do you live to the new school? Summers said, "I live right across from Carriage Hills so I live right next to it."

Sophomore Jordan Lyerly lives in Lafe, she too says this was inconvenient.

"It's a little frustrating, we were coming off Christmas break and kind of ready to get out there, we were going to class out there so we were like, Oh yeah, we get to drive out there, this kind of ruined it. We get to come to the old school and get bussed over there like a little grade school kid."

Lyerly said she really didn't want to make the detour. "When I come from Lafe I just have a straight shot and now I have to come all the way over to the other side of town and meet the bus just to go back over there."

So why are all the kids having to be bussed to the new school? The problem is a new traffic light at the intersection of Highway 49 and East Greene County Road. The light is blinking and that's an issue.

GCT High School Principal Gene Weeks said the light was only installed last week even though the school has been under construction for about two years.

Weeks, "The red light is still flashing and it takes several days before they can turn it on to get people used to it in it's new location." That period can run from days to weeks before it is put in service.

Even with a deputy parked out by the new school and the light early this morning; Traffic was still moving briskly.

One by one and two by two the students gathered at the old building. Meeting first in the cafeteria then moving to their old first period classrooms to get instructions on how the day was going to progress.

I asked Mr. Weeks how long they would have to bus the students.

Weeks, "The best case scenario is tomorrow, the worst case is middle of this week to the end of this week."

It takes 19 buses to haul the 700+ students. With the police and sheriff's deputies watching over the intersection, the transfer went okay and fairly smoothly.

Weeks said he didn't think there would be a big problem. "We just re-grouped and actually we had a practice day back on November 29th . That day is actually going to pay off for us, loading up 19 buses and heading over to the new high school."

Jordan Lyerly said they will get out a bit early on Monday.

Lyerly, "around 2 or 2:30 they are going to take the 19 buses over there to the new high school and pick us up and then start running their normal routes after they bring us back over here."

Late Monday afternoon I heard from GCT Superintendent Jerry Noble that the light was now functioning as a signal and everybody can drive to school tomorrow.

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