Southern Tioga schools to get new secure entrances

LIBERTY – Architect Sam Scarantino of Quad 3 presented three conceptual plans for improved “secure” main entrances to all the Southern Tioga School District schools but one during the board’s Monday meeting here.

Warren L. Miller elementary has a secure entrance. Mansfield High School was not mentioned by Scarantino, but is getting several new doors at its entrances in a separate project.

The district’s other school buildings, including the North Penn and Blossburg Elementary School buildings, Liberty High School and Liberty Elementary School, all will undergo what Scarantino called a “more economical” renovation than originally was proposed.

There was no project budget presented with the plans but Scarantino said one would be worked up and presented to Superintendent Keith Yarger in the next few weeks.

The entrances will include an electrified lock system requiring someone inside to open the doors to visitors who will push a button outside, and then go into a locked foyer with a second lock before entering the main building, according to Scarantino.

At Liberty High School, he said, they had “originally proposed to put a second door in so visitors would go into the office, rather than directly into the hallway, but this one is more economical,” he said.

The concepts for the other schools is similar, he added, including a sliding safety glass window for visitors to further identify themselves before going into the buildings.

Board member Frank Kollar noted that the “weakest point appears to be the sliding window, someone could jump over a counter and access is gained to the office. How would you make that more secure?”

Scarantino said the open window would be too small for anyone to get through easily, about 1 foot, 6 inches in width, and made with safety glass.

“There are alternatives such as bullet-resistant glass, but implementing it is cost prohibitive. The size of the window would make it difficult to get in,” he said.

In other business, the board:

Approved a contract with Nutrition Inc. for management of the food services department for next year not to exceed $450,075. The company managed the district’s food service department last year.

Approved two pre-school user agreements for 2013-14, one with Mansfield Area Nursery School at Miller Elementary for $200 per month, from 8 a.m.-1 p.m., the other with Toddler University day care and pre-school at Blossburg Elementary School for $500 per month, from 7 a.m.-5 p.m., both Monday through Friday. Both are dedicated rooms. Board member Dan Berguson suggested the board review its rental fee structures to “make sure we are consistent with these organizations.”

Did not vote on a demand-response proposal from EnerNOC for 60 months starting in June 2014 to install new smart meters at the schools to monitor the district’s electricity usage notifying the district when usage is above normal. The $20,000 “equipment fee” for the meters, new computers and software would have been deducted from any savings realized during the life of the contract, which was estimated to be about $15,000. Board members asked business manager Laura Perry to get more information and research other companies offering the same service.

Heard from Perry that the district will receive $157,000 more from the state following adoption of its 2014 budget last month.

The board’s next meeting will be a work session at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 5 at North Penn High School in Blossburg.