Principal fears serious injury at Pacific Way parking lots

'I'm surprised nobody has been hit by a car'

JASON HEWLETT / Kamloops Daily News
February 2, 2013 01:00 AM

Pacific Way elementary school principal Sally Zryd shows where she feels stairs are needed to link the school's two parking lots.

A broken leg was the last straw for parents trying to negotiate a slippery hill between two parking lots at Pacific Way elementary.

Now principal SallyZryd has asked the Kamloops-Thompson School District to build a flight of stairs between the lots before a more serious injury is suffered, either on the hill or in the busy driveway in between.

"I'm surprised nobody has been hit by a car,"Zryd said Friday.

There are two parking lots at Pacific Way. A driveway connects the top lot to the one in front of the school.

A 14-metre-long hill separates the two.Zryd said people who park on the upper lot are expected to walk down the driveway to the school.

Most opt to walk down the hill the instead, she said. The driveway becomes clogged with vehicles, especially during the morning drop-off of students or afternoon pick-up. That leaves a narrow path for people to walk.

The hill has its perils. Rain makes the grass slick in the fall and spring. As for winter, it doesn't take much to turn the slope to ice.

"If you get a skiff of snow on there, it's a skating rink," she said.

That was the case on the night of the school Christmas concert when a parent slipped and fell.Zryd said the mom ended up with a compound fracture.

"There was a couple of dads and myself standing out there. It was snowing. It was cold. This poor woman was in such tremendous pain," said Zryd.

In years past a number of parents have talked about getting stairs built, she said. This incident brought the topic to the forefront once again.

Trustee Joan Cowden represents Pacific Way at the Kamloops-Thompson school board. She raised the stair issue at an in-camera meeting on Jan. 14.

Trustee John Harwood referred the matter to school district staff. Facilities director Art McDonald intends to have a report to trustees completed in a couple of weeks.

He expects it will cost "tens of thousands of dollars" to have a set of concrete stairs built. McDonald said the school district has a joint-use agreement with the City for Pacific Way, and hopes the municipality will cover part of the expense.

McDonald has no idea why stairs weren't built into the hill when the school was constructed more than a decade ago, saying it was before his time.

School board chairwomen Denise Harper said people's safety is a top priority in the district.

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