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Security plans for schools moving quickly

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By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE – Just because there are no new schools under construction, it doesn’t mean there are not facilities issues which must be tackled by the Bullitt County Public School Board.

In fact, from college and career ready buildings to adding security measures at several facilities to finding out how to fix some awful tile work at some of the newest renovations, school board members listened to a wide range of issues at its most recent meeting.

Chris Cotton of 5253 Design Group gave board members an overview of security improvements at seven schools.

At Pleasant Grove, the plan would be to create a vestibule by adding a set of interior doors at the entrance. The person entering the exterior doors would have to go into an office before being allowed inside the school.

At Maryville, the challenge is a little more difficult, according to Cotton, due to its open environment with no interior walls.

Adding another set of exterior doors would be the first suggestion. An earlier plan to have metal gates lowering to block the interior hallways was not met upon with satisfaction from county code enforcement officer Rudy Hawkins.

Cotton said he also didn’t like the idea but that another solution would be studied.

Superintendent Keith Davis agreed that another option needed to be considered.

At Bernheim Middle, Cotton said the solution was simple – creating a control office between the two sets of exterior doors.

At Old Mill Elementary, he said it was also identical, as existing space would be recreated as a control office.

Adding an access point to the office at Bullitt Lick Middle could be done with little difficulty, said Cotton.

At Mount Washington Elementary, another school without interior classroom walls, Cotton said a second set of doors would be added to the front lobby. A small office would be constructed between the doorways.

Once again, suggestions are being studied for the interior security since gates are not a favored option.

At Mount Washington Middle, the most difficult alterations will be needed.

Cotton said study is still looking at the best way to relocate entrance points to the interior of the school.

A committee of district employees looked at several phases of security improvements. The primary goal of the first phase was to make sure every school was secure with no way to enter without going through a person in the office.

In other facilities issues:

*Board member Roger Hayes was concerned about the appearance of the tile flooring at several of the newest renovation and additions.

Mark Mitchell, director of buildings and grounds, said all the issues are being addressed and some might wind up in litigation.

Board attorney Eric Farris said litigation would take time and it will wind up a case of workmanship. And that often pit expert opinion against expert opinion.

Some of the issues most recently have been with moisture causing glue on the tiles to become weak and the flooring has been actually coming up.

Davis said the district did the work at Mount Washington Elementary but there is some question over material quality.

Cedar Grove Elementary has been an issue of the architects and contractors working on a solution.

Hebron Middle’s contractor is looking for some help on a warranty issue to help pay for the repairs.

And Mount Washington Middle had three classrooms where carpet was removed and repairs will be made when school is out of session.

*State education officials have OK’d plans for the college and career readiness centers for North Bullitt and Bullitt East. Bids are to be open on April 16.

Work at Bullitt Central to get plans ready for bid continue. However, the board went ahead and approved taking bids for some projects which will be needed due to the major renovations at the school.

Bids for a relocated faculty parking lot and relocated tennis courts will be let. Bids will also be taken for a new student crosswalk.

A second round of bids will be taken for asbestos abatement.

It will be a couple of months before the final plans of the BCHS renovation are ready for bid.

The district has budgeted around $5.5 million for the centers at North Bullitt and Bullitt East. The project at Bullitt Central, which includes relocating the cafeteria and media center, is estimated at over $9 million.

The centers will have classroom and lab space, along with an auxiliary gym.

The next meeting of the Bullitt County Public School Board will be on Monday, April 22, at 6 p.m. at the board office. The public is invited.

A work session will be held on Monday, April 8, at 6 p.m. at Bullitt Lick Middle School. The public is invited.