BY SARAH GREGORY
New and upgraded doors and locks will soon be installed in areas of Tusculum View and Hal Henard Elementary schools following action Thursday by the Greeneville City Board of Education.
"School safety is our top priority," Assistant Director for Administration Beverly Miller told the board while explaining the proposed projects.
The security deficiencies the new doors are designed to address relate to open floor plans in the facilities and were identified during a district security evaluation conducted by the system with the Greeneville Police Department.
After the deficiencies were identified, Miller said, the school system worked with local and state fire marshals to develop enhancements and address concerns.
At Tusculum View Elementary, each classroom in the original, round section of the building will have new doors installed, Miller said.
Those doors will feature special locks, referred to as Columbine locks, that allow teachers to secure the rooms from inside, without going into the hallway.
Other doors will be retrofitted with a device that will cause them to shut and lock, isolating sections of the building in the event a panic button is depressed, Miller said.
At Hal Henard Elementary, four new sets of doors will be installed.
Two other sets of doors will be retrofitted with upgrades.
In the event a panic button is depressed, the doors will shut and lock, isolating the classroom sections from other portions of the building.
After Miller's explanation of the project, Director of Schools Dr. Linda Stroud recommended the board approve the measure.
"It is unfortunate that we have to spend money for security at the level that we continue to find ourselves spending money, but as you have suggested, there's always going to be room for improvement," said Chairman Craig Ogle.
"After we make these changes, we will find other things that we probably need to do," he continued.
"This is one of those necessary things we do need to do, and it looks like we do have the funds to take care of that," he concluded prior to asking members to vote.
Board members voted unanimously in favor of the projects, which are expected to cost $33,150.
Funding will come in a DARE Reserve Fund, identified by Chief Student Services Officer Jeff Townsley, Miller said.