Officials to close off entrance to Andrew Avenue School parking lot

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NAUGATUCK — Borough officials plan to close off an entrance to Andrew Avenue School on the south side of Spencer Street to prevent traffic from passing through school grounds.

The proposal is to build a raised curb or structure where Spencer Street leads into the school grounds near Irving Street. There is a gate at the entrance but it’s rarely closed, officials said.

The main entrance to the school off Andrew Avenue will remain open.

“The school should only really have one entrance and exit point from a security stand point,” police Lt. Officer Derek Vostinak said as he presented the proposal to the Board of Education Feb. 13. “The problem is the gate never gets closed during school hours.”

Vostinak said the curbing would be similar to the curb that separates the parking lots for the Board of Education offices and Naugatuck High School. Along with the curbing, he said, officials will keep the gate locked.

In the event of an emergency, first responders could open the gate and drive over the curb, he said.

The Board of Education supported the plan. Board Chairman Jeff Litke said, in a subsequent interview, a lot of drivers speed and cut through the school during the day and it poses a security risk.

“Obviously we want to keep our schools and children safe,” Litke said. “We don’t want people speeding through there during the school day. If it’s going to make things safer for the kids, it’s always a good thing.”

School officials expect the work to be done in April. The board is in the process of getting quotes and will pay for the work with a state grant, Litke said.

There is a sign on Spencer Street right before the access point that says no thru traffic during school hours. Vostinak said officials will install a no outlet sign at Lewis Street and Spencer Street. He said the borough will notify residents before the entrance is closed through messages posted to the borough’s and Naugatuck Police Department’s websites.

“They’re going to put additional signage on the gate, like the reflective chevrons, so that nobody goes down there at 40 mph,” Vostinak added.