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Richards Elementary School Principal Darin Sprong said he gets anxious when he sees the demolition work at the main entrance of his school.
Office furniture and equipment have been relocated and the space has been stripped down. The front entrance of the school at 3311 Fairlawn Drive is taking shape as a construction zone.
When students and teachers resume classes Oct. 21 after their two-week fall break, which begins Monday, the front entry will look much different, and be more secure.
Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. is using the break to finish or make substantial headway on secure front entrances for Richards and five other schools.
The front entry projects are part of a $23.5 million plan to improve 14 of the district’s 18 schools.
Other work at some schools planned during the break includes fixing roofs, installing furnishings and maintenance and repair.
Front entryway improvements are being performed in varying stages at Richards, Clifty Creek, Lincoln, Smith and Taylorsville elementary schools, and Northside Middle School.
The goal for all six is the same: Funnel visitors through the main offices to allow personnel to screen them before allowing access to building areas with students.
Northside, Smith and Taylorsville are less complicated to reconfigure than the others, said Lauren Brummett, the district’s manager of projects. Their configurations are such that crews have had to cut only some new doorways. Crews are waiting now for the delivery of doors to finish the projects, he said.
Those projects will be finished after school hours, probably after students have returned from fall break, Brummett said.
Reconfiguring Clifty Creek, Lincoln and Richards are far more complicated, because the front doors enter directly into the student hallways with main offices off to the sides.
That will require major reconfigurations with new walls, Brummett said.
Crews should make significant progress at those three schools during fall break, he said, and should finish the projects by the end of the school year, perhaps sooner.
Regardless, students should notice some big changes to those front entryways when they return from break.
Cynthia Frost, principal of Clifty Creek Elementary School, said she is excited about the safety and security the reconfigured entryways will provide to students.
“It’s very appreciated and welcome,” she said.
Sprong said he is looking forward to completion of the Richards project for safety reasons, but also because it will make the front entryway more inviting to visitors.
“The reception area will be right there for our visitors, so that our office staff can greet them right when they walk in,” he said.
Meanwhile, Northside Middle School’s roof dating to the 1960s has been replaced. Now, crews will complete a final step by spreading gravel on top to protect the roof from sunlight, mechanical damage and lifting, Brummett said.
Roof jobs at Richards and McDowell are being handled through the district’s Capital Projects Fund, outside of the $23.5 million. That will involve putting gravel on the McDowell roof and doing minor jobs at Richards, he said.
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