Work at Sebastian Elementary meant to improve traffic, environment

SEBASTIAN – Construction crews are working to improve traffic flow and parking at Sebastian Elementary, school officials said. The work will also help the environment by replacing energy hogging lights with more efficient LED lamps.

“It’s the newest, greenest form of lighting,” said School District Director of Facilities and Planning Susan Olson. “They’re much more energy efficient and they last a lot longer.”


Sebastian Elementary will be the first school in the district to have the new LED lights installed in the parking lot, according to Olson.

She said the school will serve as a small scale experiment. If the experiment works, the district could install more LED parking lot lights at other schools as projects come along.

Olson added that the project is a way for the district to put into practice what its students have been learning.

“Our goal is to save energy,” Olson said.

Crews are installing five LED lights at a cost of about $1,600 a piece, according to project manager Nick Westenberger. While he could not say how much a regular, traditional light costs, he said the LEDs are indeed pricier.

The overall project, including improvements to the pick-up/drop-off loop and parking lot expansion, is expected to cost a maximum of $306,000 – which includes about $33,000 for unexpected work or change orders.

The work is expected to be wrapped up a couple weeks before the next school year convenes this August. Already, crews have been on scene for about 1 ½ weeks, according to Olson.

As for the traffic improvements, Olson said crews will be tying into the Powerline Road extension at the north end of the traffic loop to better facilitate traffic patterns.

She estimates that approximately 200 vehicles travel the loop in the afternoon during pick-up.

“It’s not so much the quantity of the vehicles,” Olson said that causes traffic snags, but the parents who arrive early and park in the loop waiting on their students. The queue, she said, quickly fills up and traffic begins to back up.

The improved loop is expected to handle more traffic stacking, she said, adding that more parking should also help the situation.

Olson said that backed up traffic in the queue has not spilled out onto County Road 512, “that would’ve been terrible.”

 For more information about this project, call Susan Olson, Director of Facilities and Planning for the Indian River County School District, at (772) 564-5017.

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