Kiski Area School District focuses on security
Three of Kiski Area's schools are slated to have “mousetrap” entrances created as part of districtwide security improvements.
The school board Monday approved nearly $225,000 in contracts for installation of such an entryway at Kiski Area North Primary School, formerly Allegheny-Hyde Park.
The contracts include about $150,000 to Moret Construction for general construction; $30,400 to A.J. Demor for mechanical; and $44,400 to Bronder Tech for electrical.
Work is expected to be done over the summer and finished for the start of the 2013-14 school year.
Mousetrap entrances are considered safer because they require a school visitor, once buzzed in at the main door, to proceed through the school's office before gaining access to the rest of the building.
Such an entrance is being included in the new upper elementary school for fifth- and sixth-grade students now under construction.
It also will be included in upcoming renovations at Kiski Area East, formerly Vandergrift Elementary.
A mousetrap entrance already is in place at Kiski Area South, formerly Mamont Elementary.
Schools without mousetrap entrances are Laurel Point Elementary, which is slated to close after next school year, along with the district's intermediate and high schools.
District officials are looking into how to provide such entrances at the intermediate and high schools in a cost-effective way, said John Tedorski, the district's technology services director.
Tedorski delivered a presentation on school safety to the school board.
‘Active shooter' training
Tedorski said state police are scheduled to take part in training with district teachers before the start of the next school year. The training will include “active shooter” situations, including the firing of blank rounds so teachers know what a gunshot sounds like inside a building.
Tedorski said a gunshot in a building has been described as sounding like a locker door being slammed.
“That training is very important for our teachers,” he said.
Security cameras at the intermediate and South Primary school will be upgraded in the coming school year.
A full-scale drill is being planned for the fall at one of the district's elementary buildings. The last such drill, which was an active shooter situation, took place on a Saturday at the high school in March 2007.
The district is working with police departments in Allegheny and Washington townships to apply for a federal grant for a school resource officer. The three-year grant would cover 75 percent of an officer's salary and benefits, up to $125,000. The deadline to apply is Wednesday.
A February meeting between district officials and law enforcement resulted in police getting electronic copies of building floor plans and “swipe cards” to get into buildings in the event someone can't let them in during an emergency.
Police presence at the schools has been increased by having them in the schools for lunch, Tedorski said.
Future security improvements at the district's Allegheny Township campus could include restricting public use of the track and tennis courts during the school day; closing the lower gate so all traffic must enter at the upper gate; and issuing key cards to all teachers and coaches.
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or firstname.lastname@example.org.