Starting on Tuesday, March 24, Woodland High School will serve as a makeshift rest area for long-haul truckers as many states across the country are closing their rest areas and truck stops due to COVID-19 prevention. For the moment, Washington State’s Department of Transportation (WDOT) is keeping the state’s rest areas open, however, Woodland Public Schools wanted to offer an alternative to weary truck drivers.
Woodland High School will be open as a rest area for truckers along Washington State’s Interstate 5, the country’s only interstate highway connecting three countries – Mexico, Canada, and the United States.
The district plans to open the high school on Tuesday, March 24 starting at 12 p.m. and intends to keep the facility open 24/7 to support truck drivers. Woodland High School is located at 1500 Dike Access Road, Woodland, WA 98674 off exit 22 on Interstate 5. Other services and businesses located nearby include Chevron, Docolicious, Les Schwab Tire Center, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Subway, Taco Bell, Verizon, Wal-Mart Supercenter, and Wayback Burgers.
District administration teamed up with community volunteers to open the high school as a rest stop for long-haul truckers after receiving word that rest areas across the country would be closing. Truckers will have access to the school’s parking lot and shower facilities to rest and recuperate. The district also plans to work with area restaurants and community members to try to provide access to hot meals, however, there are restaurants and grocery stores nearby at the same exit including a Walmart Supercenter located directly next door to the high school.
According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), trucks move roughly 71.4% of the nation’s freight by weight including a vast amount of food, consumer goods, and needed supplies. There are more than 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the United States, and their efforts are integral to ensuring Americans have the basic necessities for life.
“The trucking industry is responsible for transporting the majority of goods and products our communities rely on each day,” said Superintendent Michael Green. “Providing the men and women who drive these trucks a place to rest and relax is vital in ensuring every community will receive the deliveries they need in this time of COVID-19 prevention.”
On Tuesday, March 24, Cowlitz County Girl Scout Troop 40096 donated six cases of thin mints, samoas, tagalongs, and s’more cookies and three cans of coffee to help keep our truckers fed when they stop at Woodland High School. A very special thank you to Troop Leader Sarah Davenport for reaching out with the idea.
The idea to open the high school to support the nation’s trucking industry came from Woodland community member Eric Hansen who worked with Woodland Public Schools’ Superintendent Michael Green and Facilities Manager Scott Landrigan to coordinate efforts between the district, the City of Woodland, and the Woodland Police Department.
To keep up with the latest from Woodland Public Schools and what the district is doing to help the community during the statewide COVID-19 school closure, visit the district’s dedicated COVID-19 website.