PRINCETON, WV, AUGUST 19, 2009:   $1.7 million in Safe Routes to School grants were awarded by Governor Joe Manchin last week. Two Mercer County schools –Princeton Middle and Bluewell Elementary-- received 12% of that funding to improve sidewalks, crosswalks, and signs around their campuses.
Last spring the schools submitted detailed grant applications to the West Virginia Department of Highways outlining infrastructure improvements needed on their campuses to increase pedestrian safety including lighted signs, clearly marked crosswalks, curbs, ramps, and speed deterrents. The proposals also looked at the amount of automobile traffic around the school and the number of students who live within walking distance of the school.
Applicants also completed a “non-infrastructure” proposal outlining an educational campaign to teach safe pedestrian practices and encourage students to walk to school.
Bluewell principal Sharon Reed and PMS principal Danny Buckner accompanied by Special Education Assistant Director Lynn Bayle traveled to Charleston last Tuesday to accept the grant awards from Governor Manchin.
According to Reed, the $80,000 award to Bluewell School will assist with several needs. “The congestion of traffic each morning and evening poses a hazard to students who walk,” Reed said. “Although 12% of our students live within walking distance of the school, there are no sidewalks past the main building.” 
Automobile traffic is also a problem for Princeton Middle, and the time when students are in route to school in the morning is when drivers are also en route to work. 
According to city officials, approximately 2800 cars pass through the Honaker/N. Walker intersection daily. Principal Danny Buckner says the school plans to use a large portion of their $121,000 to install flashing signs, clearly marked crosswalks, and 35 mph school zone signs at primary intersections around campus.
“We have the full support and cooperation of the businesses along N. Walker Street,” Buckner said. “We included at least 12 letters of support in our application.”
Bayle, who worked on the non-infrastructure portion of the PMS grant, helped develop a program that would include fitness screening, pedometer use, instruction, competition between homerooms, and innovative P.E. activities.