Passage of Bond Issue Would Make Schools Safer

There is nothing more important than the safety our children. This is the ideal time to ensure it.

For that reason, Ohio County Schools has planned important security upgrades at all of our schools following the passage of the upcoming bond initiative. The security projects involve new entrances, perimeter fences and security lighting. Electrical upgrades and fire-prevention improvements are also included in the plans for each school.

The most extensive of the security upgrades is planned at Wheeling Park High School. There, a two-story, 4,000-square-foot entrance will be constructed. The entrance will be a significant change as it will involve the creation of a security vestibule.

This vestibule will create a holding area in which students, staff members and guests must be cleared by a prevention resource officer or a school administrator to enter the facility. The vestibule area will serve as a secure passage way for students, staff members and guests throughout each school day. And, it will be an important safeguard in preventing someone who may intend to harm our students, teachers or service employees from entering the building.

The entrance will feature security-glazed, fixed windows to allow the school’s prevention resource officers or administrators to easily see students and visitors attempting to enter the building. Additional improvements to the school include upgraded lighting for nighttime security.

Vestibules are planned at other schools as well. In addition to new and updated entrances, safety plans throughout our schools also include new interior and exterior doors, windows, stairs and elevators. Some of these improvements would change the way in which students enter buildings.

At Bridge Street Middle School, for example, students currently enter through the school’s rear doors. With the passage of the bond, students and guests would enter through a secure front entrance facing Junior Avenue. Also at Bridge Street, an access road will be created for easier and more efficient arrivals and departures for buses during the school day and for parents attending extracurricular functions.

Several meetings have been held to inform members of our community the specifics of the bond including the safety-related objectives. All Ohio County Schools stakeholders including students, parents, staff members and members of the community want our schools to be safe. I believe the projects outlined in the Ohio County Schools bond initiative are a significant step in that direction.

Our goal is to ensure the safety of each and every student of Ohio County Schools and to allow them to learn without fear. Together, we can keep our children safe while offering them the finest education possible.

Kimberly Miller, Ed.D, is superintendent of Ohio County schools.