Security Vestibules Added During Construction at A-C Valley HS/Elementary School, Clarion Elementary
FOXBURG, Pa. (EYT) – When school starts in a few weeks, students, parents, and visitors at a few of Clarion County schools will see some changes as to how they enter the buildings and how they pick up their children.
Both the A-C Valley High School and Elementary School and the Clarion Area Elementary School have undergone renovations of varying degrees over the summer which include the installation of new security vestibules.
“We have had a district-wide construction project that will be concluded before the start of the year,” A-C Valley superintendent David McDeavitt said. “The most important part of the project has been the installation of safety vestibules, one at each school.”
According to McDeavitt, there will be a single point of entry at both schools with the vestibules (an antechamber, hall or lobby next to the outer door of the building as defined in the dictionary).
“They will include bullet-resistant glass, and you will have to show an ID enable to get into the school itself,” McDeavitt said.
A visitors ID will be scanned by a new system installed at the school called the Raptor System. The Raptor System basically does an instant background check on the individual.
“If parents don’t have an ID on them, we can call the kid down to the vestibule,” McDeavitt said.
According to McDeavitt, the vestibule will be in use during school hours only, from approximately 8:05 a.m. until 3:10 p.m. In addition to the ones at the high school and elementary school, there will also be one in place at the district’s administration office entrance since the administration office is attached to the elementary school.
The vestibules could soon be augmented by a school police officer, according to McDeavitt.
“We wrote a Safe School grant,” McDeavitt said. “We are hoping to hire a school police officer if we get the money. The officer would be on campus full time. But, it is a competitive grant, so we don’t know if we will get it or not.”
McDeavitt said the construction project also included adding Act 39 energy efficiency to the schools that will save the district $1.5 million over the course of 20 years, replacing the boiler system at the high school, replacing the condenser units at the elementary school, updating the science labs with up-to-date flooring and tables and chairs, updating the chemistry lab with new burners and a safety-eye-wash system, and putting in new ceiling tiles.
“It should be done by the first day of school other than replacing the elementary windows,” McDeavitt said. “The winders are on backorder, so they should be installed on evenings and weekends in October.”
CHANGES AT CLARION ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
A major renovation at the Clarion Area Elementary School, which caused school to be let out earlier than normal in the spring, will also include a planned delay in the start of the 2018-19 school year until September 4.
“It is not quite completely done,” Linda Schierberl, secretary to superintendent Mike Stahlman, said. “The plan is the majority of everything should be done the last week of August, and there is a planned open house at the elementary school on August 28.”
The renovation has included having the cafeteria redone (the cafeteria is completely changed including new kitchen stuff and new serving lines), new lights and windows in the classrooms, and some changes to the outside of the building among other things.
One of the biggest changes parents, visitors, and students will notice is the installation of the security vestibule.
“You will no longer walk into the building and into the office,” Schierberl said. “We actually took the main entrance into the building and reconfigured it. There are a set of doors on the outside and then a second set on the inside. We took over a part of what was the cafeteria office area, and now a secretary will be there during school hours. This will control who is coming into the building.”
Schierberl said a third set of doors, which at one point in time were in the entrance area before being removed in the past, have been added back into the hallway after the vestibule.
“When parents come in at the end of the day, they will be kept in the hallway,” Schierberl said. “Security is going to be way better than it was. It will be a major difference people see.”
Schierberl said anyone not known to the office staff will have to provide an ID to enter the building.
“If they have an appointment say like a meeting with a teacher or the principal, all that information is supposed to be given to the (vestibule) secretary that morning. If we have a situation like a new babysitter or grandma is picking up a student for the first time, we have to have a note from the parent that they are picking them up, and then we will ask for ID to verify.”
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