NACS moves to beef up security
Two architecture firms are working to bolster security at four Northwest Allen County schools.
The school board Wednesday approved design agreements with Moake Park Group and Barton-Coe-Vilamaa for secure entrance projects at Oak View, Arcola, Perry Hill and Hickory Center elementary schools.
Cost is $41,000 for Barton-Coe-Vilamaa, which is responsible for Perry Hill and Hickory Center, business manager Bill Mallers said.
For Arcola and Oak View, the cost is $117,500, Mallers said. Oak View is considered the biggest project because the office must be relocated, he said.
Renovations are expected to begin after this school year, with construction contracts likely awarded early 2019, Mallers said.
Funding is through the 3 million in safety and efficiency improvements.
John Miller, the district’s chief operations officer, shared potential designs for one of the new secure entrances during a general update about school safety.
Preparing for potential active-shooter situations is just one element of his job.
“It goes wide and broad,” Superintendent Chris Himsel said, noting fire drills and bus evacuation drills as examples.
For 20 minutes, Miller addressed other aspects of school safety, including water testing, air quality tests, school resource officers, participation in the Allen County School Safety Commission and training educators must receive in various topics, including suicide prevention and awareness, a new requirement.
School staff : including teachers, superintendents, principals, librarians, counselors, psychologists, social works and nurses : must complete suicide training this academic year and be re-trained every three years, according to the state.
Northwest Allen is using the program Question, Persuade and Refer to fulfill the requirement, Miller said.
Also this year, Northwest Allen launched another way for people to submit anonymous tips. Quick Tip is available through the district website, www.nacs.k12.in.us, and for download as an app. Users may choose to provide a phone number or email address.
“Contact information is nice for follow-up,” Miller said.