A Cassville High School freshman was critically injured on Monday when he was hit by a car on Highway Y on his way to school.
Michael Galyen was airlifted from the high school soccer field to St. John's Hospital in Springfield at around 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 10. He underwent emergency surgery and is now listed in critical condition.
According to Cassville R-IV Superintendent Jim Orrell, Galyen was hit on Highway Y between 17th and 18th Streets.
Since the new high school was built, R-IV District officials have been aware that Highway Y and its lack of sidewalk or shoulders poses a potential safety threat to students travelling to school on foot.
The district has been actively seeking ways to create an alternate pathway linking the high school and middle school campuses. To date, their plans have been unsuccessful.
Currently, Orrell said the district is in the process of doing architectural planning for construction of a road from the football field to Partridge Drive. This road would serve to divert some of the traffic off of Highway Y, according to Orrell.
The district also plans to again approach property owners to the south of the CHS campus about purchasing property to construct a sidewalk through private property east of Highway Y.
The City of Cassville has also been actively involved in trying to create a safer travel route for students. Over the past several years, the city has submitted two grant applications for funding to build a sidewalk linking the two campuses.
In August, the city's last grant attempt was denied. In announcing the news, City Clerk Kelly Paul said grant administrators told her to keep trying because it was a good project, but funding was not currently available for new transportation projects. Cassville Mayor Tracy Holle is determined to keep working on the project, and on Tuesday, voiced her plans to find a solution as quickly as possible.
"It's time for our community to come together and fix this ourselves," said Holle. "We need to take responsibility and do what's right.
"I'm ready to roll up my sleeves to come up with a solution, and the school definitely wants to work with us on this," Holle added.
Holle said she hopes to be able to call together a group of citizens to discuss the situation and come up with some possible solutions.
In addition to creating a sidewalk for students to travel from the high school to the middle school, Holle also would like to look at ways to make Highway Y safer.
"We also need to find a way to protect students coming from the west side of Y to the school," said Holle. "Maybe it's just a matter of painting pedestrian stripes on the road or creating a crosswalk or maybe even having a shuttle that can transport kids from one gathering spot to the high school.
"Whatever it takes, we need to do it," said Holle. "I want people to know that we're not just sitting back but this is something we're pursuing and will continue to pursue."