Bonner Springs High School is looking to improve student safety with a $203,000 project approved at a Bonner Springs Board of Education meeting on May 13.
Herner Construction will begin work on May 24 with the remodeling of the main office and the addition of a new door that will force visitors to stop at the front desk. This ensures that visitors check in instead of walking past into the commons area.
"We are concerned with safety issues at the high school," school board president David Pierce explained. "Hopefully [the entryway] will make visitors come straight through the office to enter the main part of the school."
According to Principal Joe Hornback, the board and administration have been wanting to increase student safety in the building for a while.
"Many schools have it where you have to go straight to the office. School safety is our biggest concern so this change is long overdue," Hornback said.
Pierce hopes this will have a positive effect on the school and community because it will allow the school to better monitor those entering the building. Though the board foresees a positive reaction, Hornback admits there are some issues it could cause.
The new door that is being added will be the only unlocked entrance after 7:45 a.m. Late students will be funneled into the office instead of being able to go right to class.
"Students will be put off at first but they will see we are taking safety seriously," Hornback said.
Another issue is the cost. Pierce explained that when the board heard how much this would cost they were surprised.
"The cost was a little scary [but] protection isn't cheap," Pierce said.
The new entryway is being funded through the capital outlay account which is tax money that is set aside for schools to do improvements such as this.
Another addition, aside from the entryway, is the installment of Ident-A-Kid to the front office. This is a program where visitors will sign into a computer with their name and who they are visiting. The computer will then take a picture of the visitor and print a pass for the visitor to wear while at the school.
"This is a program that Lansing and Leavenworth school districts have. We liked what they were doing at these other schools and using something similar to this would be nice," Hornback said.
The Board of Education will continue to improve the safety of the students by adding a buzzer system, putting in fire safety glass, and having cameras to see around corners.
The construction is set to be completed by July 29 so that it will be ready for the students’ return on Aug 15.
"We know it will be less convenient," Hornback said. "We are just looking for understanding from the community and school as we try to make our students more safe."