Wheaton school adds ADA door handles with new locks

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

City, school district working to get sidewalk project moving

The Wheaton school district took tips given during the intruder on campus drill and made changes to locks and door handles across campus, and the district also worked with the city of Wheaton recently to help finish the city’s sidewalk project by making an easement for the property.

Lance Massey, Wheaton superintendent, said after the intruder on campus drill in December 2018, new door knobs were brought up as a possible advantage.

“We are trying to get where we have good uniformed keys,” he said. “After the intruder on campus drill, that was a recommendation from law enforcement.”

Massey said another part of that is with the old door locks, the teachers would have to lock them from the outside.

“The new door knobs we put on are push button locks that will help the teachers feel more secure in their class rooms,” he said. “The new door knobs are also ADA compliant.”

Massey said they are actually handles and not knobs.

“Not that we were out of compliance,” he said. “But, it helps us further on down the line.”

Massey said when the school had a follow up with the teacher after the intruder on campus drill, the new door handles were something they had concerns about.

“We don’t have the final bill from the locksmith that we contracted yet,” he said. “We had a couple of the door handles in place already that they will only have to change the lock on, so that helps.”

Massey said the main point is to have a universal key that will unlock the doors.

“The way we have done it is the elementary building has all locks that are keyed alike,” he said. “The high school building has all keys that are keyed alike, and there is a master key that will open both types.”

Massey said not everyone throughout campus will have a master key.

“The elementary teachers will have the key to get into what they need, and so on,” he said. “The master key that opens both locks will be held by specific people.”

In addition to the new lock and keys, the Wheaton school district also wrote an easement for the land on school property on which the city is building a new sidewalk.

“Basically, the language that is in that easement is that if at some point the school needs to utilize that for the purpose of building or something like that,” he said. “The school would be able to request that easement back from the city and do the school business that needed to be done there.”

Massey said the land is a small piece of property next to the playground on the north side of the campus.

“If this ever happened,” he said. “The school would be responsible for putting a sidewalk back in that is closer to the road.”

Massey said there is a piece of property about 30 feet long that people park on for baseball and softball activities.

“By moving the sidewalk against the playground, people would still be able to park there,” he said. “The spectators won’t have to park on the sidewalk and possibly tear up the city’s sidewalk, which is the whole point we asked for the sidewalk to be placed against the playground fence.”

Massey said if the school requested the easement back, the school would have to give the city 60 days notice first.

“I had originally requested that the city have a maintenance agreement to avoid the easement,” he said. “However, due to the grant type the city is using, they weren’t able to do that so by granting the city the easement, the city will maintain liability of the sidewalk.”

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