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The storefront entrances are designed as a quick and inexpensive means to tighten security.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Changes to the entrances of eight Roanoke County schools will be completed this summer to make the buildings more secure.
The Roanoke County School Board opted Thursday to create glass storefront entrances at several schools to better control entry to the buildings. The storefronts will block off direct access to the inside of the school and visitors would then enter through a locked door.
The move to bolster school safety is another in a string of measures officials have taken in recent months following the December shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman stormed a school, killing 26 people and then himself.
Roanoke County, like other school districts in the region and across the country, has had a renewed focus on safety protocols prompting some changes. This month Salem City Schools officials also discussed potentially adding a storefront at one of the system’s schools.
Earlier this year in Roanoke County, officials installed cameras and buzzers to let visitors in schools that didn’t already have the equipment. A storefront to secure the system’s central office was also added as a way of controlling who enters the building.
In March, the board opted to begin negotiations for work on a new computerized card access system for the division’s buildings that would monitor and control who enters. The work is estimated to cost about $1.4 million.
At the heart of the many security discussions has been how to stretch limited dollars. A feasibility study conducted earlier this year suggested major changes to some school entrances to enhance security could have cost as much as $1.8 million. Officials have been looking at less costly alternatives that still maintain security.
Martin Misicko, the school system’s director of operations, said the storefronts being added this summer can be easily done. The changes will cost about $130,000 and will be completed using the superintendent’s contingency funds.
Board Chairman Jerry Canada requested more information for a June work session on changes that could be made to other schools.
The following schools will see storefronts added as part of Thursday’s decision: Hidden Valley High , Northside High, Mountain View Elementary, Burlington Elementary, Bonsack Elementary, Oak Grove Elementary, W.E. Cundiff Elementary and Fort Lewis Elementary schools.
In other news, the board was briefed on changes to the system’s evaluation procedures for principals.
According to agenda materials, new principal evaluations will monitor instructional leadership, school climate, human resources management, organization management, communication and community relations, professionalism and student academic progress.
The changes are in response to new guidelines adopted by the state in March, which will become effective in July.
Officials are slated to vote on the new evaluations at a meeting next month.
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