No one knew that ingress and egress during emergencies was an impending problem at Sippican School until this winter when a fallen tree and live utility wires blocked the entrance to the rear entrance to the Sippican School campus.
The Marion School Committee made a last-minute addition to its agenda on June 14 to consider a proposal for an emergency access road to Sippican School and, after a brief discussion, approved the additional entrance/exit off Route 6.
“This past winter we had many storms,” said Superintendent Doug White. “That includes one when our roads into the school actually got blocked and you couldn’t actually get to the back of the school.”
Although the situation was managed with the assistance of the Police and Fire Departments, Police Chief John Garcia approached White and asked the administration to let him investigate other possible points of ingress and egress at Sippican School.
“And what he found as he was looking at the space and the areas around our school is there’s already a cutout on Route 6 that follows the back of our ball field here, and with the help of the Town DPW they’re willing to clear that up and make it so that it would be available to us,” White said.
In addition, that route already has a gate to the entrance, White said.
The access road would be an emergency exit only, allowing an entrance for emergency personnel.
“In collaborating with the Town departments…other shoring up needs to happen…[so] trucks and busses can travel over that area,” said White.
The committee approved the access, and School Committee Chairman Christine Marcolini applauded the measure.
“I appreciate the Town being so proactive to try to figure out…how we prevent this from happening again,” said Marcolini. “I think this is the only [elementary school] that just has that one way in and one way out.”
And with the gate and route already established, Marcolini added, “I think that 100 percent makes sense from a safety perspective.”
In other matters, Sippican School will again forego offering any School Choice slots to students outside the district under the advisement of Superintendent Doug White.
For the last several years, Sippican School has not participated in School Choice, “And at our current status and the way we’re structured and how we’re funded, at this time it wouldn’t be beneficial to [offer] School Choice,” White said.
The next meeting of the Marion School Committee is scheduled for September 5 at 6:30 pm at Sippican School.
Marion School Committee
By Jean Perry