NEW MARKET, AL (WAFF) - Eight Madison County Schools are currently undergoing major renovations in order to improve school safety. New Market School is one of those schools. Construction started last year. The plan is to build a new walk-way that connects two buildings, preventing students from having to walk outside in the elements.
Shelley McManes has a son who is a first grader at New Market School. She understands the need for the construction, but she is expressing her frustrations with the construction crews. McManes tells WAFF 48 that on the morning of April 1st, she was dropping her son off at school when she witnessed a construction worker on a bobcat machine in the area the students are dropped off.
“That really concerned me that there’s actual construction going on while the kids are at school so close to them,” McManes expressed. The schools assistant principal had to stop the car line to tell the construction worker to stop what they were doing.
Kerry Wilkerson is the Chief Operation Officer for Madison County Schools. He acknowledged the worker broke the safety guidelines.
“We have limits of where the contractors cannot work in the mornings, they can’t work in the afternoons. They can only work late afternoon and midday,” Wilkerson explained.
Wilkerson said after the April 1st incident, he held a meeting with the construction crew to re-explain the rules and guidelines. “Every meeting we discuss these same rules. It’s a new employee with a new company. It’s just a bad scenario that happened but, we took care of it,” Wilkerson said.
McManes says that two days after WAFF 48 shared her concerns, the same issue happened on Friday, April 5th. McManes says she was dropping her son off at school when she saw a worker moving a piece of equipment. “These are young kids. I mean they’re three, four years old that are in the pre-k class that were in that area,” McManes said.
She is now urging the Madison County School Board of Education to address these issues.
“Please put in proper safety in place. If that calls the site manager or the point of contact to be on site every morning, then whatever it takes to make sure these safety guidelines are followed. It’s as simple as that,” McManes said.
Following the second incident, Madison County Schools sent us this statement:
“We have met with the contractor and again, reminded them of the policy that NO WORK is to be conducted at New Market School before 7:45 a.m. We will also have school staff monitor the contract work on a daily basis to ensure this policy is followed and enforced.”
Wilkerson says the construction should be completed by the next school year.