VERNON — The new of the year will bring new improvements to security at all the schools in Vernon Township School District, as the Board of Education approved renovations and upgrades that will change visitor access at its Dec. 19 meeting.
After several months of study by Director of Security James Barta, a plan has been drafted to reconfigure each school's entrance so visitors must check in with a staff member before gaining access to any area that contains students.
At the high school, the second set of doors at the main entrance will have locks installed, and the doors at the top of the stairs will be locked. Students would not be able to use the staircase in the main entrance during the school day anymore, and a monitor will be hired to check in visitors.
At Loundsberry Hollow Middle School, a second set of doors will be installed to create a place where visitors will have to wait for approval to enter. The school also will get a monitor who would be responsible for checking in guests through a window that would be installed in an existing office window.
Glen Meadow Meadow Middle School will get a similar arrangement with a second set of doors and a window in an existing office that would be manned by a monitor as well. This monitor would be split between Glen Meadow and Loundsberry Hollow. Cedar Mountain Primary School would have a security window installed, and one of doors moved back to create what was called a mantrap, a space between two sets of locked doors where a visitor must wait to be approved.
Walnut Ridge and Rolling Hills Primary Schools will both get new visitor access windows for the existing doors.
"It is paramount that we set the wheels in motion as soon as possible," Acting Superintendent Charles Maranzano said.
Barta said he hoped to complete some of the renovations by the time school opened after the holiday break.
According to Acting Superintendent Charles Maranzano, "it is paramount that we set the wheels in motion as soon as possible." Barta was hoping to complete some of the renovations by the time school opened after the holiday break.
The changes also are coming in at much less cost than originally expected. Barta estimated $80,000 for the door renovations and installations, and the cost is between $24,000-$25,000. The complete costs have not yet been finalized but the board and superintendent felt that it was imperative to get the upgrades started.