The decision was made Monday night during the Cleveland Board of Education’s retreat. Board members studied a priority list of Cleveland City Schools capital projects. They decided school security and transportation needed to be addressed.
Estimates for E.L. Ross’ redesign sit at $85,000 with Blythe-Bower’s coming in at $35,000. Neither school currently has a secure entrance with buzzer-locked doors.
Richard Shaw, board member, said security is at the top of his list.
“We talk about price, price, price, but I thought we committed to doing something about security,” Shaw said. “We are going to do something to make these schools safer, and it is going to cost money.”
Paul Ramsey, energy education specialist, said the schools are already safe. He said the modifications to both schools would just increase security.
Added Shaw, “Money should not be an issue.”
E.L. Ross’ reconstruction would move the main office to the technoplaza at the end of the school’s cafeteria.
Currently, two sets of two double doors make up the school’s visitor entry. The redesign will have the second set of two double doors become buzzer doors. An additional door will be cut into the technoplaza’s wall, leading visitors from the secured foyer to the main office.
City Schools Director Martin Ringstaff said the buzzer doors ensure all visitors must check in with the office before entering the school. In addition, those with security clearance can be buzzed in without having to enter the office area.
According to the blueprints, E.L. Ross’ current main office will become a corridor. A school resource officer will be placed near the front of the school.
Blythe-Bower’s redesign will require more construction. There are currently two entryways into Blythe-Bower: the kindergarten entry and the visitor entry. The two entrances are on either end of the school’s long foyer. There are four doors connected to the foyer leading into the rest of the school.
Three of the four doors will become controlled-access areas. Two doors are on the opposite side of the foyer from the entrances leading to a parent resource room. The third door is at the end of the corridor leading to a secured lobby and main office. The fourth door at the opposite end of the foyer will become a buzzer door.
Another buzzer door will be added to a partition built in the secured lobby leading to the main office. All visitors will have to enter the office to gain entrance to the school. The school resource officer will be in the main office.
The foyer currently ensures a safe flow of traffic within the school. A new corridor will be built to allow continued foot traffic as a part of the school’s reconstruction.
Another suggestion was to take the parent resource room and widen it across the foyer. This would effectively close the foyer corridor. Both entrances would still be used. The kindergarten entry would still have a buzzer door.
Money for the projects will be taken from the half-cent sales tax proceeds rewarded to the city school system. There is the potential for the projects being paid for by money awarded at the state level. The latter will not be known until after state officials discuss the budget in March.
Board members voted to buy two new buses for the school system. The estimated total cost will be $190,000.
There are currently 10 split runs on the city school system’s bus route. A split run means drivers make the same route twice. Four of the split runs are for both morning and afternoon routes. The remaining six split routes are in the afternoon.
Hal Taylor, director of maintenance and transportation, said he will look into the costs and availability of a third, used bus.