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Construction at Kennedy irks parents

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OGDENSBURG — Picking students up after school has gotten more complicated for many parents as construction continues at Kennedy Elementary School and members of the administration are asking for patience.

With most students exiting the building through the new main entrance, near the intersection of Plover Hill and Jersey Avenue, the already long line of cars full of parents waiting to pick up their children is now competing with construction vehicles and contractors parking their own vehicles on the way to the work site.

Currently the primary construction site is along Jersey Avenue with crews mixing concrete and operating heavy machinery behind large fence barricades.

The school is in the middle of a $19.1 million construction project in which a new addition has been built and which will include various upgrades throughout the building as the completion date, next summer, draws nearer.

Ogdensburg City School District Superintendent Timothy M. Vernsey said he has received complaints from some parents about the congestion, but asked for patience and understanding.

“Once we get [construction] out of there, by the end of the (school) year it should work out just fine,” he said. “In the meantime it is congested.”

Furthermore, Mr. Vernsey said, the high-density traffic zones may change as construction crews move from place to place on the building.

“It’s in constant flux because as they are doing different thing they are required to park in different areas,” Mr. Vernsey said. “There’s not much we can do about it right now. Be very watchful; be cautious.”

Kennedy Elementary School Assistant Principal Jacquelyn L. Kelly said the fundamental problem is the on-going construction. “We’re going to see if any adjustments can be made.”

During the next several days, representatives from the district will be meeting with contractors to figure out a way to ease the pick-up process for parents.

Everything from the dismissal schedule to where students are let out is being considered, Mr. Vernsey said.

When the project is complete, Mr. Vernsey said, parents will be rewarded with a much easier pick-up routine.

Students will be let out at different exit points, depending on their grade level and buses will be concentrated to the loop on Park Street, Mr. Vernsey said.

Until then Mr. Vernsey asked parents to “be patient and slow down.”

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