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Friederich questions lockdown safety for district PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 14 December 2017 09:30

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ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times


EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part two of the story recapping the events of the most recent meeting of the most recent meeting of the USD 480 school board Monday evening and will cover what was said regarding rekeying doors in some of the campus buildings as well as maintenance of the artificial turf for the Liberal High School football field. 

The security of the students and teachers in the buildings throughout USD 480 is of the utmost importance and Monday evening, some concerns regarding getting doors rekeyed were addressed. 

“Mr. Rogg, at the August 10 meeting, we’d talked about rekeying the new schools and that was tabled until the first meeting of October,” Board President Steve Helm began, addressing Director of Auxiliary Services Mike Rogg. “We’ve not heard anything yet.”

“This week, we have Randy Greer, he’s from Assa Abloy, coming,” Rogg said. “He was originally scheduled to come in November but he had to cancel and has since rescheduled. So we haven’t yet been able to consult with him and in this case, I think it would be good for us to get some expertise.”

“You had nearly two months to get the expertise, because there at the east annex at Liberal High School we have either no locks or ... it’s a total disaster, for lack of a better word,” Helm replied. 

Originally, Rogg said, staff had been talking to Todd Neely who was an Assa Abloy rep, at the facilities workshop in September, but he ultimately resigned. Rogg added it took Assa Abloy time to get another person reassigned to the position. Currently, Rogg said, Neely is scheduled to visit this week. 

“With the east annex, what’s the plan there?” Helm asked.

“Right now, we have blanks out so people can lock their doors, we’ve had those out for some time,” Rogg said. “Right now, we’re operating as intended by the architect – we’ve got card keys, that northeast entrance has a card reader on the main door between the high school and the east annex. We’ve had a lot of problems with staff sticking chairs, pylons, other things like that to allow for convenience for people to move around. Typically, it takes three or four contractors to coordinate getting one of those power doors in – you’ve got Johnson Controls, Assa Abloy and then the door hardware person. There’s multiple contractors that have to be part of this.”

Rogg went on to say the doors can be locked per ALICE criteria unless the locks are defeated by the doors being propped open. 

“If we’re getting notification from staff in that building that that’s not the case, who are we to believe now?” board member Matt Friederich asked. 

“All I can say is we have given blanks that will lock all the doors to the principal and assistant principal in that building,” Rogg said. 

LHS Assistant Principal Troy McCarter was then asked to give his take on the situation. 

“You’re telling me right now we can lock every door down per our ALICE criteria, knowing there was just a school shooting in New Mexico, not too far away,” Friederich said. “You say we can do that, but I’m hearing some things differently. So Mr. McCarter, can we lock all the doors down in that building?”

“No,” McCarter replied. 

“Did you receive the blanks to lock the doors to each and every room?” Rogg asked. 

“The blanks don’t lock each and every room, they only lock the rooms with the new doors,” McCarter replied. “But all the doors do have locks. I actually found an old file this week off an old drive with key numbers and I sat down with the maintenance department Friday morning and they will be cutting keys for those rooms that have the old doors, which we’re expecting very soon.”

Conversation continued in this vein for several more minutes, with other concerns raised including cooperation being needed from building staff and making sure the exterior doors’ locks are not defeated. 

“My top priority right now is student and faculty safety, that is No. 1,” Friederich said. “Not the architect, not anything else, student safety is the No. 1 priority. So my thoughts are we should put all hands on deck as far as conversations between you and the building-level administrations and vice versa to make sure the issues are being addressed and taken care of. But I feel like that focus has been construed elsewhere and I’d like to hear all hands are on deck and this is getting taken care of because the east campus is not the only place we’re seeing this problem.”

“It should be partnership between administration and building leadership but I will tell you at times, I don’t feel like we get a lot of support from building leadership,” Superintendent Renae Hickert said. “I’ve had two discussions with my principals about how much a piece of wood costs, a piece I stole from a building because they were leaving it propped open. So it is frustrating at our level because I don’t feel we have sufficient buy-in from building admin. And I’ve told them twice I don’t care who’s leaving the door open, if I get a complaint I’m going to them and holding them responsible. I’ve had that discussion twice in six months. I think we’ve gotten better, I think they’re rising to the challenge, but there’s still work that needs to be done.”

Discussion continued on this topic for several more minutes before the board moved on. Another item of discussion that came before the board was the artificial turf on the LHS football field. Some slight repairs have been made to the turf at the field throughout the past few months along with some other maintenance. The field is currently maintained by Hellas, who also took care of some repairs to the track earlier this year. 

“Another thing I saw in this recommendation is at some point, we should invest in some windscreens because especially in our neck of the woods it would help,” Friederich said. “Have we thought about pursuing that?”

“I don’t know if it’s something that should be pursued now, but I think we should examine anything that will help that turf last longer,” Rogg replied. 

Other maintenance was discussed and Rogg and Director of District Systems Michael Stovall also talked about their respective conversations with Hellas. 

“That contact came to me because we needed to fix the football field in August since our first football game was in September,” Stovall said. “So I went around with Michelle Kuhns and inspected the track, the field, all that. I did go through all that with her. We went through it all and it was realized the field’s aged and lost its bounce even though it is about eight, nine years old. Then in August, when we needed a quick repair, I was able to get ahold of her and get that fixed within three days.”

Several more questions were asked regarding a follow-up inspection on the field as well as what that would entail. 

“State statute says whenever we change something to a building like a door or anything like that which could be affected by the fire code, we have to have an architect design it and sign off on it,” Rogg said. “It was my understanding I was supposed to bring prospective architects for the board to interview with a recommendation. I found three interested in working with us so I’d like to bring back those recommendations to the board at a future date and retaining some of them for some of the summer work too.”

Improvements to the turf, Rogg said, could be potentially part of the district’s master plan as part of a bigger project for those improvements. As the turf work was only an information item, nothing was voted on or officially decided. 

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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