By Xavier Smith
Wilson Central High School students, staff, parents and administrators are working on a possible solution to keep an access point to a large industrial development off the school’s only access road.
Wilson Central student Preston George, the school’s student school board representative, updated the Wilson County school board Monday on talks between school officials, school board and school district representatives and developers on the issue.
The Commerce Farms distribution center will be 652,00 square feet and feature 116 truck docks, two drive-in doors and a parking lot for 84 trailers and 257 cars. The access point on Wildcat Way would be available to about 60 employees.
“The largest concern we have as a school is they’re putting an entrance on Wildcat Way. This is an issue because we already have traffic issues because that light at [State Route 109] is the only access point for students, faculty and staff to get into the building,” George said.
The Wildcat Way access point would be about 50 yards from the traffic light.
George said based on conversations with personnel with the Lebanon Planning Department, state law allows the development to feature an access road on Wildcat Way because the property backs up to a city or county road.
George said, however, the group has sought other alternatives to alleviate potential congestion and reduce safety hazards.
He said one of those options included extending Wildcat Way through property adjacent to Connect Church, which currently sits at the end of Wildcat Way. George said that plan was likely not feasible due to grading costs due to hills on the property.
However, George said the parties also discussed taking any excess rock from blasting and use it as a road that would access Wilson Central near its baseball field, which could be used during games and other events.
George also discussed the project’s traffic impact study, which showed the peak access times for employees would be between 6:30-8:30 a.m. and 4:30-6:30 p.m.
“Those p.m. hours are not necessarily going to affect us unless we have a basketball or football game. Our primary concern is the morning peak hours,” George said.
George said the Lebanon Planning Department has tried to improve traffic and safety issues on Wildcat Way, but has not been able to find a feasible option.
“We’re working together to find common ground where we all three can benefit,” George said.
Wilson County Board of Education member Tom Sottek has been involved in the conversations and said although one access point will likely be on Wildcat Way, the primary entrance would be through Franklin Road.
“They also have the option to go the other entrance, as well. The expectation is, more than likely, they will adjust,” Sottek said.