When its no-tax increase bond passed in April, the Logan-Rogersville School District went straight to work on its safety and security improvements.
The first phase involved reconfiguring the entrance of four of the five school buildings. One of the buildings included the Logan-Rogersville Upper Elementary School.
"When you face this building, the corner wall used to be outside," said assistant superintendent Jason O'Neal. "Everything you see is a new addition in front of you. That’s because there wasn't a good way to secure the main entrance, but the reason for that is we didn't have a secure entrance. We did this entire addition to the building, so we could bring focus to one main entrance and of course maintenance and security."
When walking into the Upper Elementary School, visitors will either be checked in through the hallway or the main office area.
"We used to have a camera system where people would come up to the exterior door and be buzzed in," said O'Neal. "The secretary would see this not-so-great image of a person. Now, this is actually a safer approach, which will get someone in the building, in front of you and in front of a glass. It's more secure visibility and being able to see them and interact with them."
The Upper Elementary also features a new office complex and a renovated space for the counselor’s office. The old office complex is still utilized, but it was moved to the front for the security and maintenance factor, according to O'Neal. He added there is a camera at every entrance in the five buildings, but the district's goal is to install more of them.
"The high school building is equipped with cameras all over the place," said O’Neal. "The other buildings have cameras at the entrances. We have a few exterior cameras at the middle school and around the stadium, but that will be the next big piece in our security upgrade, which is trying to get more cameras throughout every building."
A second entrance that leads into the gym was included in the Upper Elementary project. While they added onto the office entrance, they renovated the gym entrance to tie together the building.
"We wanted all these entrances to look similar, but for everyone to see which entrance was which," said O'Neal. "We actually don't have the signage up yet. It has been ordered. That’s the last phase of our project. We'll have a big, bold signage across the top of each one of those entrances. The signage is estimated to arrive in the next couple weeks."
At the Logan-Rogersville Primary School, an interaction window, along with another door and glass wall, was added to the front entrance. This is the extent of improvements needed for the building, which also was made at Logan-Rogersville High School.
For the Logan-Rogersville Elementary, O'Neal said they started working on smaller items for the project late February. In March, when COVID-19 came, they decided to focus on the remodeling of the building, so they were able to get an early start. It will include a new safe room/gym that conforms to FEMA standards, a new library media commons and two sets of new restrooms relocated to the office new spaces to replace old restrooms.
"The old building had a very small room that was for a cafeteria and gymnasium," said O'Neal. "It didn't work very well, so now it will just become a cafeteria and flex space, but the taller building we're connecting to it will become a full gymnasium. It will also serve as a FEMA shelter for the surrounding neighborhoods."
The main entrance/office will be renovated into a new serving area for the cafeteria. The kitchen will expand into this space, according to O’Neal.
"We're pretty much rearranging the building," said O'Neal. "Part of the purpose of moving that office down to the middle is that gave us a main entrance in the middle of the building, right at the crossroads between our two hallways. It also enabled us to centralize all of our special classes that take place. Our music, art, library and counselor departments will all be moved to a single building, and the classrooms will be located on the other end. We also are going to install a new drop-off/pick up location for parents to follow."
The Logan-Rogersville Middle School was perhaps the hardest entrance to create a secure vestibule for. A new addition was included to the front of the building to make the entrance work, according to O'Neal.
"When you come in, you'll notice a slight change," said O'Neal. "This used to be covered entrance. There used to be big heavy metal doors, so although we really didn’t plan to renovate that side of the entrance, we went ahead and put on new glass and all new doors to make all of this match. It gives a whole new look to the cafeteria and commons area."
The middle school gym is getting a complete renovation, including new chair back seating, new plastic bleachers and a drop-down partition separating the auxiliary gym from the main gym.
"Our chair back seating was falling apart," said O'Neal. "It just wasn't safe. We had a whole wall of wooden bleachers on the north side that wouldn’t pull out. It was broken, and there was no point in trying to repair them. They needed to be replaced. We had a whole wall of bleachers that went between these two gyms and also outdated. We felt renovating the entire space was the best idea."
In Phase II, the district will address the remaining projects, including ADA accessibility improvements and safety components at the soccer and baseball field.
"We are going to put in a handicapped-accessible sidewalk, handicapped-accessible seating and a new set of bleachers for our spectators," said O'Neal. "The sidewalk we have to the bleachers is sloped and steep. It doesn't meet ADA requirements, but it will. We plan to do that project this fall once summer baseball is over. We have until next spring to finish that."