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New entrances to make Richland Elementary safer for students

| Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Rachel Farkas | Pine Creek Journal
The new visitor's entrance at Richland Elementary School leads directly to the main office and provides a more secure entry to the school.
Rachel Farkas | Pine Creek Journal
The new canopied entrance to the Special Education and Psychological Services offices at Richland Elementary School will provide a more safe and secure entry to the offices.

Two new entrances that will improve safety and security at Richland Elementary School are nearing completion.

Gary Zang, director of buildings and grounds at Pine-Richland, gave an update of the remodeling project at the Aug. 12 school boarding meeting and said it would be complete by the time school starts on Aug. 28.

A new visitor's entrance has been added to the front of the elementary school, said Rachel Hathhorn, spokeswoman for Pine-Richland.

The more secure entry will lead visitors directly into the main office.

The old main entrance admitted both students and visitors into the school, said Carolyn Will, building secretary, and allowed visitors access to the school's halls without checking in at the main office.

The configuration of the main entrance and the office also created a “blind spot” for the secretary where she couldn't see the visitors after they entered the building, she said.

Visitors will be clearly visible from the office through the new glass-enclosed entrance and be confined to the office before entering the school.

“This is the right thing. It needed to happen,” Will said.

The main entrance still will be used by students when they arrive and depart.

The special-education and psychological-services offices, located in the lower level of Richland Elementary School, also got a new canopied entrance facing Bakerstown Road, Hathhorn said.

The old entrance was on the west side of the school and opened onto a roadway.

The new, safer entrance will open to a new 12-space parking lot that was added as part of the remodeling project.

Will said the new special-education and psychological-services entrance will be safer because it opens into a contained parking lot rather than a roadway. She also said the entrance will be easier for parents to find because it faces Bakerstown Road.

The new parking lot is already complete.

Mazzei Construction Inc. began working on exterior elements of the project in April, Hathhorn said, and began interior parts of the project after school let out for the summer.

The Pine-Richland School Board unanimously voted to accept Mazzei Construction's bid to complete the remodeling project at $194,500 at the March 25 board meeting.

Architectural Innovations of Ross designed the improvements at Richland Elementary School.

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or rfarkas@tribweb.com.

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