Project will improve safety at Cassville Schools

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The R-4 School Board approved an extensive door entrance renovation plan during its regularly scheduled meeting on Feb. 14. The project is designed to improve safety and security at all Cassville School building entrances.

According to Superintendent Richard Asbill, middle school Principal Terry Jamieson and intermediate school Principal Eric White, who serve as the district's safety coordinators, have been working on plans for improving safety at the R-4 campus since the deadly shooting occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut in December of 2012.

"We will be renovating each of our door entrances at the primary, intermediate, middle and high schools," said Asbill. "We will be replacing the doors with an electronic latch door system. Once the new doors are in place, we will have electronic latch system capabilities at all entrances."

Plans are also in place for an electronic "buzz in" system at each school entrance. That portion of the improvement plan has not officially been approved by the board at this time.

"For guests or parents to enter a door, they will have to request permission by buzzing in through the office," said Asbill. "We will have a camera and speaker system set up, and the visitor will push a button and then someone from the office will look at the video, talk to you and then buzz you in. The door will unlock for the visitor and then lock behind them after they come through."

The new electronic doors have already been ordered and will be shipped and installed in four to six weeks. Asbill said that the district hopes to have the new doors in place by the end of April.

The buzz in system will likely be installed this summer and be in place by the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.

"At the primary school, the entrance is a little different," said Asbill. "There is a lot of glass at that entrance. We are actually going to take out a lot of the glass and brick up that entrance. It will look like the brick has always been there.

"We are very excited about that. It will be a nice adjustment to that entrance," added Asbill.

Plans are also in place to install an adhesive safety coating to the glass around the doors at the high school entrances.

"We are working with two companies right now getting pricing for that," said Asbill.

The purchase of the new doors and the renovation at the primary school entrance will cost the district around $50,000. The electronics for the doors and the buzz in system will come with an additional price tag. Bids have not been received at this time.

"The board has always done a very good job of prioritizing our needs," said Asbill. "This will be in addition to the planned capital expenditures for this year, however because of the FEMA project, by shifting some costs to the lease purchase plan, we will be able to accommodate these improvements this year without delaying the projects."

A budget amendment will be needed for the safety improvement project.

The board also approved an academic at-risk transition instruction plan during the meeting. By approving the plan, the board voted to hire three additional teachers, who will be working at the primary, intermediate and middle schools.

"The board decided to make a local investment because number one it is needed and number two this is the right time to address academic and at-need kids in order to ensure they are successful and graduate college or career ready," said Asbill. "By doing some early grade interventions, we can help all of our students have as many options to succeed as possible."

Asbill said the transition instruction plan will support grade level teachers, Title I teachers and special aid teachers throughout the primary, intermediate and middle school buildings. The teachers will be hired for the 2013-14 school year.

"Each building will have a specific plan to accommodate the learning needs of students," said Asbill. "The short-term benefits are specific to providing additional instructional support of students. The long-term goal is to create a system of learning support that research shows remediates academic needs and creates a system of success for students to engage in learning and become college and career ready by graduation."

During the meeting, the board also received an update on a ground source heating and cooling unit replacement project. The school district needs to replace 75 of the ground source units this year.

"We have been fortunate enough to receive rebates on 50 tons of that project," said Asbill. "It is a sizeable project. The units will cost around $1,750 each and weigh about a ton and a half each. We will be receiving rebate money from Barry Electric on a large portion of the project."

In other business, the Cassville R-4 School Board:

* Approved the resignation of Nicole Crouthamel, high school math teacher.

* Scheduled a special board meeting to be held at 6 p.m. on March 26.

* Approved several design options for the FEMA building project.

* Approved the 2013-14 school calendar.

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