(WOODLAND PARK, Colo.) — This school year, Woodland Park School District (WPSD) has implemented new safety measures in the parking lot of Gateway Elementary School thanks to the dedication of one staff member.

Lori Padgett is the librarian at Gateway Elementary School but when she’s not helping students with books, she is instead looking out for the safety of her students.

“I’ve been doing traffic duty out of here for about 20 years and the way the parking lot is designed, it’s really not safe because… kids and parents have to get out of their cars, walk behind their cars across traffic and between the flowing cars,” Padgett said. “So I have seen some very scary situations. So, I decided that maybe we need to put a sidewalk in front of the cars.”

For several years, Padgett has been determined for a crosswalk to be installed to help ensure the safety of her students and their families during pick up and drop off periods.

“I have been asking for the sidewalk for a couple of years,” Padgett said. “One morning, Mr. David Illingworth was dropping off his preschool child and I had just had a kind of a close call. So, I was explaining to him that we needed to put a sidewalk in to keep kids and parents safe so they can enter the building.”

Illingworth was able to help bring her vision to life because he took the next steps in making sure it would be installed.

“So I called Superintendent Ken Witt, probably like, when I got to my car,” Illingworth said. “And said, ‘I just heard this great idea from Lori, who’s been doing the crossing guard duties and I think that makes a ton of sense.”

When students arrived for the upcoming school year, they not only got to see their classmates but also got to see a new crosswalk in front of their elementary school.

“I think it’s a wonderful addition to Gateway Elementary,” Illingworth said. “It’s good for our staff who are trying to make sure little ones get in safely. It’s good for our parents who are going to be able to get their kids in more safely, more quickly and I just think it’s a great tribute to a seasoned, you know, veteran educator like Lori, who’s been here so long, knows this community so well and is such a great representative.”

Lori Padgett walked alongside Dave Illingworth on the new crosswalk.

The crosswalk is named after Padgett, who served as the brain behind this safety measure.

“She just came back to school and saw it,” Illingworth said. “But by that time, it was too late for her, like to put her hands in the wet cement, you know? And so, I met Lori at the open house here for the school, we were talking about it, and I said, ‘Listen, do you mind if we name it after you so that you get the credit recognition you deserve?”

WPSD Superintendent, Ken Witt, shared the positive impact a staff member like Padgett has on the whole community.

“We love these wonderful staff members like Lori, who love their job, who care about the students, who not just teach, but pay attention to the importance in the lives and the safety and the environment that these kids are learning in,” Witt said. “We are thankful for Lori and we’re delighted with the quality staff members and the quality teachers that we have in Woodland Park.”

The crosswalk bears the name of the woman who made it all possible.

Padgett laughed during the interview with FOX21, sharing that she now has a new nickname from her students.

“A funny thing this morning, when I was crossing a young man across the crosswalk, I said ‘Good Morning’ and he kind of ignored me,” Padgett said. “So, I said, ‘Good Morning. Mrs. Padgett, he goes, ‘No, Good Morning, Miss Lori Lane.”

This is the 29th year Padgett has worked for WPSD and now there is a little piece of her legacy permanently outside of Gateway Elementary.

“I don’t have a whole lot of years left to be here because I’m close to retirement,” Padgett said. “But I just thought it was a great idea.”