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Compromise reached on closure of Pinckney Elementary School tunnel during construction

Construction at Pinckney Elementary begins this summer, and the Lawrence school district, Pinckney neighborhood and city have reached an agreement regarding access to the Pinckney tunnel during the yearlong project.

The pedestrian tunnel runs north to south beneath Sixth Street, allowing people to cross underneath the high-traffic street. Originally, the project’s construction firm requested that the tunnel be closed for safety for the duration of construction, which is scheduled to take place from June 2016 to July 2017.

Bright-colored mural panels now line both walls the length of the Pinckney Elementary School tunnel beneath Sixth Street.

Bright-colored mural panels now line both walls the length of the Pinckney Elementary School tunnel beneath Sixth Street. by Mike Yoder

Pinckney students will attend school at the former East Heights Elementary next school year, which is one of the reasons why closing the tunnel leading to the school yard was thought not to be a major issue. But representatives of the Pinckney Neighborhood Association came out strongly against a yearlong closure of the tunnel, saying it would affect residents who regularly use it.

Kyle Hayden, assistant superintendent of business and operations, told the school board this week that the tunnel will remain open during construction, though there will be intermittent times that the district will request that the city allow it to be closed.

“I think that we have a good communication partnership to make that plan happen when we need to,” said Hayden, who has been hired as the district's next superintendent. “And plan ahead, then we would disseminate that information to the Pinckney neighborhood so that they would know the time frames that we’re looking at.”

Though most closures will be for short periods of time, Hayden said once the project reaches its final stages in Spring 2017, the district will look at closing the tunnel for “potentially a couple months.”


In other news and notes:

  • New York Elementary will hold its spirit day, the theme of which is “sports/team” day.

  • Students at Liberty Memorial Central and West middle schools will attend the play “Out of Bounds” at the Lied Center.

  • The Encore program will be at 7:30 p.m. at Free State High School.


Lunch menu options:

Elementary level:

Main dish: lasagna with breadstick; parfait with muffin; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick

Sides: steamed carrots, peaches, salad bar, milk

Middle school level:

Main dish: lasagna with breadstick; parfait with muffin; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; hamburger, grilled cheese

Sides: steamed carrots, peaches, fruit juice, creamy tomato soup, salad bar, fresh fruit, milk

High school level:

Main dish: lasagna with breadstick; pasta fazool; deli bar; pizza; cereal with string cheese; parfait with muffin; veggie shaker; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; daily sandwiches

Sides: steamed carrots, marinated mushroom salad, peaches, fresh fruit, fruit sorbet, fruit juice, oven potatoes, salad bar, cream of broccoli soup, milk

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