Got Sidewalks?

Plan to Connect High School to the YMCA


A portion of the sidewalk-less National Road (Route 40) leading to the Kleptz YMCA from the high school where scores of students walk daily.

Autumn Jenkins, Staff Writer

At first glance, Northmont High School has many paths and sidewalks to get around the building. However, the school lacks sidewalks leading away from the building in two locations where students are frequently seen walking: U.S. Route 40 (National Road) towards the YMCA, and Crestway Road. Freshmen, particularly, are seen walking after school along Route 40 to the YMCA or one of the housing subdivisions along National Road, because of a lack of transportation options for them.

“If you’re walking in the grass, it feels wrong. I wouldn’t want someone walking in my yard,” said freshman Drake Hickman, who walks down Route 40 to get to the YMCA.

Many staff also agree that there should be sidewalks in the surrounding area.

“[With the addition of sidewalks], students are not going to be walking on the road or grass,” said a teacher in the Math Department, who wished to remain anonymous, but indicated there was talk of walkways that would connect the high school to the YMCA at a recent staff meeting. “More students might use the Y[MCA].”

“It’d be safer,” Hickman said, who wonders why the addition of sidewalks hasn’t been more of a priority to the school district or the City of Clayton.

However, students will be surprised to find out plans are well underway to build a sidewalk from the new high school to the YMCA, thanks in part to a grant from the Department of Natural Resources secured by the City of Clayton.

“It’s good to see the City [of Clayton] and the school district come together with a solution for the safety of our students,” said Mr. Tony Thomas, Assistant Superintendent.

Business Manager Mr. Brandon Knecht said the new sidewalk along National Road should be open for public use by late Spring or early Summer. Knecht said the sidewalk project, which is estimated to cost at least $350,000, has been up in the air since 2012, because of funding issues and the number of environmental studies which needed to be conducted. The Northmont school district will be responsible for $50,000 of the cost.

“A lack of funding issues, especially at the State level, has contributed to the delay,” said Knecht.

Thomas added one way the State budget has been balanced the past several years is through cutting municipality budgets which allows cities to do even less.

It was also noted by both Knecht and Thomas students should be especially mindful of the pathway over the next few months, because construction will make it even more difficult to walk on.

Students, staff, and administration are hoping it’s only a matter of time before Northmont High School has “got sidewalks.”