Unit 40 Board Considers Ways to Make Buildings More Secure

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Published on April 3 2013 2:47 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Since the Newtown school shootings, educators have been taking another look at ways to make their buildings more secure.  Security was a topic at a special meeting of the Effingham Unit 40 school board Tuesday.

Administrators and board members discussed steps already taken at Effingham Junior High School and what might be done to make Effingham High School more secure.

Unit 40 Superintendent Mark Doan reviewed work done at the junior high building over the Christmas break.  Visitors to the building during the school day are now directed to the front entrance off the circle drive.  A buzzer and a camera have been installed to control access to the building.

As for the high school building, one option would be a camera and buzzer at the entrance to the Hearts Rock Cafe.  Doan said they're also considering creating another entrance between the cafetorium and the library.  He said the entrance would be located immediately south of the high school office and a hallway would provide access to the office.  The upper half of the wall on the south side of the office could be removed.  The nurse's station could be relocated to an office next to the assistant principal's office.

The alternative entrance would be utilized during the school day for access to the building.  Access to the Hearts Rock Cafe would still be available for concerts, plays and awards banquets during off-hours.

Doan said the cost of the project is estimated at between $150,000 and $170,000, and bids will be sought.  He's hopeful the bids could be available for consideration later this month or in May with an eye toward undertaking the project this summer.  Doan said candidates in next week's school board election will be briefed on the project.

The Board also discussed the resurfacing of the all-weather track at Effingham High School, and set a reorganizational meeting for April 29.  At least one new Board member will be seated since incumbent Brad Meinhart is not seeking re-election next week.