Tallmadge -- School administrators say the construction of new entrances at two elementary schools could mean greater security for children by the beginning of the next school year.
Administrators with the Tallmadge City Schools presented their plan to build secure vestibules at Dunbar Primary and Munroe Elementary schools to the Board of Education Feb. 20.
Steve Wood, business director for the school district, estimated the total cost of the project at $285,000. The district would use money from its permanent improvement fund to pay for the work, if the Board decides to move forward with the project.
If the project is a go, the next step would be to seek bids from contractors to perform the work. Officials hope construction would start at the beginning of the summer and be completed before the start of the 2013-14 school year.
The Board scheduled a work session at 6 p.m. March 6 at the McCombs Education Center to further discuss the proposal.
In addition to the construction of vestibules, the plans call for moving school offices to the front of the buildings near the vestibules so school personnel could better monitor visitors.
"The primary goal [for both schools] is to improve visitor access control at the main entrance ... " Wood told the Tallmadge Express. "Presently, visitors are buzzed into the building from a remote office location using surveillance. The vestibule model is state-of-the-art for public building access and is in place at both Tallmadge High School and Tallmadge Middle School."
The vestibule at 51-year-old Munroe would be built by installing a wall of new, locked inner doors. Visitors would only be able to enter the building during the school day through the staffed front office.
Visitors would enter the school at a newly created reception area near a secretary's office and clinic. The space was previously used by a school dentist.
The teacher workroom and current reception area would be transformed into principal, counselor and staff offices, and a storage area and physical education office adjacent to the kitchen and teacher workroom would be reworked.
The cost for Munroe's portion of the project would be about $150,000.
"It looks really good," Board member Valorie Prulhiere said during the meeting.
Board Vice President Brad Croskey suggested adding windows along the front of the building to allow for even better monitoring of the outside.
New exterior doors would be installed at Dunbar, a 64-year-old building, and the existing locked exterior doors would become the interior doors of the vestibule. Just as at Munroe, visitors would only be permitted to enter through the office during the school day.
The teacher workroom and restroom that's accessible for those with disabilities would be converted into the principal's office, another accessible restroom and clinic.
The new visitor access area would be made by converting the current aide office into a reception area and aide's office.
The current clinic, reception and secretary's office would be made into a teacher workroom, and the existing principal's office and clerical work station would become counselor and psychologist offices.
The work for Dunbar is estimated at $135,000.