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County, School Leaders Concerned About Bumpy Ride on Busted Road

By Staff | Jan 20, 2016

Photo by Miles Layton Sistersville Elementary Principal Krista DeVaughn points to a deteriorating road leading away from the school that has county and educators officials concerned. If there is an emergency, this unnamed road is the only way away from the school.

SISTERSVILLE Local officials have expressed concerns about a pothole damaged road that is to be used by school buses if there an emergency at Sistersville Elementary.

Tom Cooper, director of Tyler County Office of Emergency Management, said the road, which has no official name, is the only means buses and others have to leave the school if there is emergency. He said first responders, such as fire trucks, would block the main way to travel to the school Sistersville Elementary School Road.

“It is and has been a concern for many years,” he said. “I think we have the folks around the (breakfast) table to fix this problem,” Cooper said a recent Tyler County Local Emergency Planning Committee. “There is no opposition, but it has been a problem trying to figure out who the legal owner is. And I can’t blame industry for not going in there without knowing who owns the property. I think the right people have made up their minds that it is going to be fixed.”

Much of the asphalt and concrete from the back road has eroded leaving potholes and shallow trenches that cause for a bumpy ride. SES Principal Krista DeVaughn said kids risk injury when riding buses on the road down the hill.

“Heaven help us if we have a crisis,” she said. “We have one safe way in and out of the school for emergency personnel, buses and parents.”

Superintendent Robin Daquilante, a former SES principal, said she and others have been working for years to get the road repaired. She’s talked with legislators, Sisterville public leaders, the state Division of Highways.

“We have been seeking assistance with improvements to the road through three principalships,” she said. “Duane Dober before I became principal, Krista Devaughn who is now the principal, and I have all worked diligently to trace the ownership of the road in order to work together to make the road passable. This is the only other exit route from Sistersville Elementary School in the event of an emergency. I used to say that the potholes were deep enough to swallow one of our preschoolers and they are much worse now.”

Cooper said the problem is that there is a question as to who owns the affected road and contiguous property. He said if the property’s owner can be determined, Statoil has offered to assist with repairs.

Sistersville Mayor Bill Rice said the school is not within the city limits, so the city doesn’t own the road. Rice said he would be looking into the matter.

DeVaughn added, “We really need to do something.”