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Yough schools' security upgrades completed

| Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
William S. Zirkle | The Times-Sun
Mendon Elementary School Principal Jenifer Pappasergi (left) and Yough Superintendent Janet Sardon describe the changes to Mendon's entryway to the Yough school directors on Sept. 11, 2013. The area shown is the secure section outside the office.

Taking a tour of the district last week, Yough school directors saw first-hand how the entrances at the elementary schools and the high school have been reconfigured to provide increased security.

The entryway modification project was made part of the district's Act 93 energy conservation measure initiative by taking advantage of one of the Act 93 rules.

Yough's business manager, Mike Wrobleski said a 15 percent add-on is allowed to be included in an Act 93 project. The entryway modification proposal's cost was $322,595 out of a total of $1,235,467 for the entire Act 93 project.

Wrobleski said the entryway modification project came in right on budget, thanks in large part to Superintendent Janet Sardon's hard line in keeping to the budget.

Visitors to the high school and the elementary schools must now be “buzzed-in” either directly into the office or into an interior secure space adjacent to the office. The building secretary has a direct view of the entrance as well as a video monitor view. All the new entries are covered by security cameras.

At West Newton Elementary, Principal Keith Reidmiller said he had mixed emotions about the remodel. He said, “I was disappointed that we're at the point where we had to do this. But I'm also a lot more confident on a daily basis that the whole building is a lot safer now.”

Jenifer Pappasergi, principal of Mendon Elementary, said, “Our children are already well trained,” as she went on to describe a kindergarten class walking down the hall past the secure area completely ignoring her pleas for them to let her in.

They know they are not allowed to let anyone in for any reason, Sardon said.

All the principals commented on how well received the changes were, by parents and staff alike.

H.W. Good's principal, Amy Larcinese said, “Everybody's been very respectful about it and very opinionated in how much they really like it ... a lot of safety ... everybody's been very thankful, and our staff as well.”

The high school has a completely new entrance for visitors that goes through what used to be the back wall of the office. The interior has been reconfigured to conform to the change.

Principal Earl Thompson said, “We certainly appreciate it (the changes) because of the limited access now.”

“It's taken a load off of the students' minds, off of the staff members' minds about the access of the old entryway,” he said.

The principals were all in agreement as to the positive impact on building security and the subsequent increase in safety for both students and staff.

William S. Zirkle is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 724-872-6800.