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Heightened security part of early roll out of St. Vrain Valley's improvements
March 2, 2017, 9:15am | St Vrain Valley School District
By Pam Mellskog for the Times-Call
By Pam Mellskog for the Times-Call
Brian Lamer fielded lots of minutiae —— questions about locker locations and paint selections — leading up the St. Vrain Valley School District's capital construction bond ballot issue last November.
But the questions that kept the district's assistant superintendent of operations up at night pertained to the risks the district took to break ground on new schools and roll out enhanced security systems as early as January after voters approved the $260.3 million bond.
"Truthfully, a lot of nights I woke up and sat on my couch in the dark processing it all," Lamer said.
Painstakingly prioritizing projects and gathering blueprints and other specs with the staff and the school board ahead of the bond's approval paid off.
It saved taxpayers $15 million to $20 million between the inflation adjustments and the anticipated 2018 spike in construction costs, Lamer said. It also gave the district a year's head start on pre-empting the overcrowding projected — in some cases upwards of 140 percent of capacity — in roughly half of all SVVSD schools by 2021 without bond funding, according to the district's website.
To discuss the brisk roll out and progress of bond projects that include an array of security enhancements, the district will host four community meetings in early March at schools in Longmont, Erie and Firestone.
With the new centralized lockdown systems I could secure a school's exterior doors from my phone — even if I was in Texas," Lamer explained, as an example of what's new in the district's longstanding security plan. "Furthermore, if the police called and needed door 6 at a school opened for them, I could open door 6 that way."
An area assistant superintendent will moderate a six-member panel that includes Lamer; Superintendent Don Haddad; safety manager Stacy Davis; a community law enforcement representative; and others.
Each meeting will wrap up with a town hall style question-and-answer time.
The lion's share of the 2016 bond underwrites classroom expansion by constructing three new schools and a new Innovation Center along with building additions at 29 existing schools. The remaining third of the bond budget covers existing facility renovations including the safety and security enhancements underway in SVVSD, the seventh largest school district statewide with 55 schools and 32,000-plus students enrolled.
New construction projects call for exterior perimeter and interior security cameras, centralized lockdown, and internal communications as standard features, Lamer said.
But another $14.2 million will retrofit current schools for improved security, mainly with new security entryways along with exterior perimeter and interior security camera systems installed for the first time at elementary schools, he added.
Community Meeting Schedule
Coal Ridge Middle School
6201 Booth Dr, Firestone, CO 80504
Wednesday, March 1 | 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Trail Ridge Middle School
1000 Button Rock Dr, Longmont, CO 80504
Thursday, March 2 | 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Altona Middle School
4600 Clover Basin Dr, Longmont, CO 80503
Tuesday, March 7 | 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Erie Middle School
650 Main St, Erie, CO 80516
Thursday, March 9 | 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
These meetings are designed to review current security features/protocols, discuss how school officials, law enforcement, parents and students can work together to further strengthen school safety, and show the progress of current 2016 bond projects. Community members may attend any or all meetings to ask questions, make suggestions and/or provide feedback. Light refreshments and childcare (ages 3-12) will be provided. To reserve childcare for the event, please RSVP at stvra.in/childcarersvp.