Sinkhole closes front parking lot at Blanchard Elementary

newsroom@ledger-enquirer.comApril 15, 2014 

ROBIN TRIMARCHI rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.com A sinkhole collapsed in the Blanchard Elementary School parking lot Tuesday afternoon. 04.15.14

ROBIN TRIMARCHI — rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.com Buy Photo

A sinkhole at Blanchard Elementary has caused the arrival procedure and dismissal times to be changed and the front parking lot to be closed.

Students who ride a bus home will be dismissed 10 minutes earlier, and students who ride a car home will be dismissed 10 minutes later, said Valerie Fuller, the Muscogee County School District's communications director.

Drop-offs in the main parking lot will be directed to the bus loop instead, said Fuller, who encouraged parents to leave home a little earlier to account for the expected traffic delay. Dismissal for bus riders will be around 2:15 p.m., instead of 2:25, and car riders will be dismissed at 2:40 p.m. instead of 2:30 p.m., she said.

The front right tire of a teacher's car was caught in the sinkhole, about 5-6 feet deep, Fuller said. Contractors are on the scene to assess the situation and make repairs, she said.

No injuries were reported.

The front parking lot is closed until further notice, probably the rest of the week, Fuller said.

The arrival procedure will be as follows: Students who normally are dropped off in the main parking lot must be dropped off in the bus loop. Tardies will not be counted until the car line is gone in the morning, Fuller said. "So it is important that no one compromise the safety of children by letting them exit the car anywhere except by the sidewalk in the bus loop."

During dismissal, cars may not enter the bus loop until 2:40 p.m. to allow clearance of the buses, Fuller said. "This will minimize any hold up for parents waiting in line," she said. Dismissal will continue in the bus loop until 3 p.m., then all remaining students will go to the office to wait for their rides.

"Once we confirm the sinkhole is repaired," Fuller said, "notifications will be sent to parents and normal routines will resume."

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