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Renovation projects in store for Carlynton school buildings

| Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, 9:13 p.m.

Carlynton School District's renovation project is moving forward.

The board of education at its Jan. 10 meeting approved the creation of requests for proposals by construction management firm Thomas and Williamson. The RFPs should give the district specific information on several renovation priorities.

The main priorities involve security. Plans include exterior doors where needed, interior classroom door locks, an electronic door entry system at exterior entrances and the development of a captured vestibule system at the entrances of all three schools. Plans also include an electronic notification system for parents in the event of an emergency.

“Every one of us recognizes the importance of providing a safer environment for our kids,” board President David Roussos said.

Talk about security at Carlynton Junior-Senior High School, Carnegie Elementary School and Crafton Elementary School dominated a Jan. 3 open meeting on the district's renovations.

In the wake of the deadly school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the district is looking to quickly upgrade its security system. Superintendent Gary Peiffer hopes to bring information gained from the RFPs in front of the board in February.

“I just want to thank you guys for the speed in which we're getting these buildings more secure (with upgrades like) the locks on the doors,” said audience member Karen Eonta, an employee at Crafton Elementary. “I never expected that so fast, but it just makes me feel a lot safer, as I know it will our parents and the kids.”

Peiffer, Roussos and representatives from St. Philip School also met with local mayors and police chiefs recently to discuss security.

“It was a very productive meeting,” Peiffer said. “(The police chiefs) were all very supportive, and there was just an overall (thought of), ‘What can we all do to work better together to make our community more safe, more secure and protect our children?'”

Peiffer said Carlynton is looking to upgrade its crisis plan and work better with the police and community. The district plans yearly training for teachers on what to do in the event of an emergency.

In addition to the security upgrades, the district also approved creating requests for proposals on boiler systems and air conditioning systems at Carnegie and Crafton elementaries.

No parking

The board hopes to reduce traffic problems and increase safety at Carlynton Junior-Senior High School by restricting parking near the gymnasium and swimming pool.

Officials said the problem is greatest on nights when there are basketball games or swimming meets. Instead of parking in the main lot and walking, people park on the sides of the road closer to the gym and swimming pool, clogging the lanes of traffic.

Peiffer said such behavior could pose a safety hazard and open the district up to liability.

“Instead of complaining about it, we need to start talking about what we're going to do to resolve it,” Peiffer said.

The district will look into painting lines for traffic flow and parking in the circle, adding parking restriction signs and notifying district residents before beginning enforcement.

Peiffer said the district may also want to consider widening the lanes of traffic at the school as part of an overall renovation project.

College program

The district is looking into the possibility of adding dual-enrollment college courses with the University of Pittsburgh beginning in the fall of 2013.

Peiffer said if the district decides to move forward with the courses, teachers would receive instruction from the university and teach their own students, who would pay Pitt for credits and buy materials from the university.

The superintendent added that while the credits would be offered through Pitt, they should transfer to other universities. He looks to add courses from other universities in the future.

“I think if we're looking at being a premier district, along with our advanced placement courses, we need to offer families and students avenues to obtain some college credit and experience prior to graduation,” Peiffer said.

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-8527 or dgulasy@tribweb.com.

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