New sidewalk in Indian Land helps keep students safe

New sidewalk in Indian Land helps keep students safe

INDIAN LAND, SC (WBTV) - Safety is a priority for students who walk to Indian Land Middle School and Indian Land High School. For a long time students have been walking on the side of the road and sometimes in the road to get to school.

This school year that will change. Sidewalks have been created on River Road in Lancaster County, passing both schools. Parent Pam Houge has been fighting for sidewalks ever since she saw a child in danger about two years ago.

“He almost got hit,” Houge said. “And that was just the day when I was like you know what - there needs to be a sidewalk here for our children.”

Houge gathered more than 300 signatures from people who wanted sidewalks. She presented those signatures to school and safety officials. The officials agreed and thought is was necessary for sidewalks to be built.

“You could tell this was a safety issue,” Houge said. “I mean parents complained all the time.”

Local and Federal money was used to pay for the safety feature. The cost of the sidewalk was more than $200,000.

“If you want something bad enough,” Houge said. “You have to keep pushing. Don’t let anybody tell you - you can’t do something.”

Indian Land is growing meaning more students are attending the schools. Indian Land Middle School Principal Chris Thorpe says about 1250 students are expected at Indian Land Middle School. He says the sidewalk comes at a good time to help keep students safe.

“It will be a great benefit for our kids,” Indian Land Middle School Principal Chris Thorpe said. “Walking between the two schools to be able to get off the roads. Increasing student enrollment means there’s more kids - more parents on the road - so to ensure kids are real safe, sidewalks are an added plus.”

Thorpe is happy about the sidewalk but is concerned parents may decide not to wait in the long car line at school to pick up their kids. He worries parents may meet their kids at local businesses since a sidewalk has been created to make things more convenient for them.

“Because we have a sidewalk it does make it a little safer,” Thorpe said. “But it doesn’t ensure safety if you rely on your students to be dropped off at Bojangles or QT and then encourage them to walk across 521.”

The principal hopes parents won’t do that. He says safety is the number one priority and sidewalks help.

“This will decrease significantly the likelihood of somebody getting into an accident or getting hit.” Thorpe said.

Hogue says she has other things she would like to address to keep students safer. Officials say the sidewalks are pretty much complete. There is just one section crews are still working on.

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