Part of bond proposal
By Lynn Burton
Sopris Sun Staff Writer
Here’s something that WILL NOT happen regardless of the outcome of the $122 million Roaring Fork School District bond issue election on Nov. 3. The school district will not be installing airport-type security, or other electronic security devices, at school entrances. That’s what Roaring Fork School District Chief Operating Officer Jeff Gatlin tells The Sopris Sun.
Several “safety and security” improvements are listed on the school district’s fact sheets (rfsd.k12.co.us), as well as the categories “learning environments,” “facility condition improvements” and “energy efficiency upgrades.”
Big-ticket items in the proposed bond issue are: $34.4 million for a new pre-kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school between Glenwood Springs and Carbondale at Eastbank; $31.6 million to modernize and upgrade middle schools in Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and Basalt; $20 million for a Glenwood Springs Elementary School remodel to create a single, interconnected school (the district received a $9.1 BEST grant that it must use it or lose it); and $15 million for RFSD employee rental housing.
Gatlin is the school district’s go-to guy for questions about safety and security. The Sopris Sun e-mailed several questions to him (including the one about electronic security). Here are his e-mail responses.
Question: What is the total cost district wide for safety and security improvements?
Answer: It will be difficult to provide the total cost for all safety and security improvements due to the nature of how some of these costs were calculated. The cost estimators provided a general remodel price for each building and safety and security costs were included in this number. While we do have some of the safety and security line item costs identified, it is not accurate due to the nature in which many schools’ costs were calculated.
Q: The term “secure entry vestibule” appears for most of the schools. What is a secure entry vestibule?
A: A secure entry vestibule is an area at the entrance of each school where individuals can enter the school through one set of doors but need permission or granted access to enter another set of doors that then opens to the entire school.
Q: What other upgrades or safety/security procedures does the school bond call for?
A: Traffic safety circulation improvements for multiple schools, addressing safety issues on playgrounds, improved technology (door monitors, access control systems and upgraded telephony/intercom systems).
Q: It looks like “upgrade intercom/phone system throughout” comes up for most schools. What kind of upgrade, and what would the upgrades allow the buildings to do that they can’t do now?
A: One of the main improvements would involve better integration between the telephone system and the intercom system. With a newer system, a public address (for example, a lockdown call) could be made from any phone throughout each school. This is currently something we are unable to do.
Q: How were the district’s security needs assessed? Was it done in-house or was an outside consultant hired?
A: We worked with local law enforcement agencies across the three communities to tour facilities and address needs of our schools. This assessment helped us determine what safety and security components our schools were lacking. The school facility assessment teams also examined safety and security issues.
Q: Will the school district do any of these upgrades even if the bond issue fails?
A: To be honest, I am not sure. We have been focusing 100 percent of our energy on ensuring this bond passes.
Published in The Sopris Sun on October 22, 2015.