CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The School of Science and Technology of Corpus Christi's new elementary building tripled the number of students on campus, creating traffic jams that have been frustrating parents since Monday.
"It's a nightmare," Duce de la Garza, father of a SSTCC sixth-grader, said.
The addition of 900 students in the new building, located on Evans Road near Saratoga Boulevard, has led to long student drop-off and pick-up periods over the first two days of school. All of the traffic has de la Garza concerned about student safety, too.
"We have hundreds of cars that are passing through here with students that can't even see over the tops of the [car] hoods," he said. "It's very dangerous."
School leaders are well aware of the problem. They partly blame the campus' location at a T-intersection that's only controlled by stop signs.
"Cars are not only stopping at the intersection for other cars, but now they're stopping for people in the street," SSTCC Assistant Principal Rhianna Flores said. "That's really slowing people down."
Corpus Christi Police directed traffic this morning, and there was an improvement. Officers also gave the school a list of recommendations to fix the problem.
"We're planning to take that [note] to the city," Flores said. "We're also planning to hire police officers until we can get those changes."
The changes could include crosswalks and a stoplight. The city says, when a school comes forward with a traffic concern, they work with it to find the best solution and then implement it. In the meantime, de la Garza's daughter has a plan to stay safe and avoid some of the traffic.
"We usually park really far and just walk all the way over here," Celeste de la Garza said.
The school was previously located at an old H-E-B location at the corner of Saratoga Boulevard and Everhart Road, where Pre-K through 12th grade were all under one roof. That campus didn't have these issues, possibly because of its large parking lot.
Sixth- through 12th-graders moved into the new location on Evans last year, while the younger kids stayed behind awaiting construction on theirs. Now that it's ready, the elementary has brought an influx of more than twice the number of previous students on campus, and caused traffic congestion.
Even with the traffic, the elder de la Garza said he's pleased with the school. He's also confident school leaders will work out the kinks associated with the new building.
"The School of Science and Technology is great," he said. "We love the staff. We love being here. We're just going to have a lot of challenges to overcome this year, at least to start the year."