When Community R-VI voters approved a $1.25 million bond issue this past April, district patrons understood their vote allowed for a wide range of safety measures and upgrades.
Perhaps little did they know the list of tasks associated with the ballot language would be completed so quickly.
With just a few days remaining before the start of the school year, nearly all projects have been completed.
Since the contract went to a performance company in CTS and not an architect, the work was subcontracted pretty quickly. Sound Solutions also did some work through CTS to assist with the upgrades.
Work began on some items at the beginning of Summer School.
In light of the shooting at a Connecticut school a couple of years ago, safety has since been a No. 1 priority of the district.
Now patrons coming to the district will be on camera when they come to the door in the back and the two front doors, one leading to the higher grades and the other leading to the elementary school.
Front office staff at both schools will be able to see who is requesting entry and buzz them in, unlocking the door for entry. The system is currently operational.
The door security sensors are now in place.
Additional security cameras have been installed and are operational. The images are also more clear than they were in the past.
Though not a part of the bond issue, the district has partnered with Van-Far and the Audrain County Sheriff’s Department to hire a School Resource Officer. SRO Jeff Scrogin is now on duty splitting time at both districts.
“We’re just very excited to have him here,” said Community R-VI Superintendent Cheryl Mack.
Mack said this will help the district to establish a drug awareness program. She’s also looking forward to the positive relationship Scrogin will have with the students.
“Security was a big deal for me,” Mack said.
A parking lot has been constructed at the front of the school featuring 21 spaces, with two of those being for handicapped patrons. This is a visitor parking lot as only students and staff will be able to park in the back during the day. Plans may be modified in the future to allow parking in the back during special events during school time. Parents will now be asked to pick up and drop off students at the front of the school.
At the end of the school day, car riders will be released before bus riders are loaded onto the district’s busses.
Outside lighting under the canopy was also addressed.
One of the most exciting changes district patrons will notice is the new gymnasium now has air conditioning.
A two phase lighting system has also been installed. The first phase offers basic lighting while the second phase will be used for events like basketball games.
The Middle School gym received new lighting. The district received a $7,000 rebate from Consolidated Electric. It projects $30,000-$35,000 in savings with the lighting upgrades.
Concession stand workers will notice electrical upgrades and renovations to the concession area. New counters were installed, hot water is available, and an epoxy floor was laid down.
Both the Middle School/High School office and the Elementary School office received overhauls to better help office staff to serve the district and its students.
Insurance covered a leaking issue in the new office of Counselor Jennifer Gillman as her area now has a new ceiling and a new floor.
The Ag Building had its electrical issues resolved and has been upgraded.
The band room has new lighting.
Community R-VI’s cafeteria has installed sensor lighting and a new ceiling.
In the past, the county’s health inspector expressed concerns about flaky ceiling tile in the cafeteria. The problem is now resolved with the upgrades.
The sound in the room will be less loud with the changes made.
Superintendent Mack said the district is considering the purchase of a biometric reader to assist with better lunch counts due to the noise causing issues in the past and kids forgetting ID numbers.
These readers measure a student’s finger but doesn’t work by finger prints.
“The company will provide a tech to help things get set up,” Mack added.
Forms have been sent to parents to inform them on the finger swipe system, as it will help students to not identify themselves with an ID number they might forget.
Two projects are currently nearing completion.
A canopy is being installed over top of the sidewalk outside of the new gymnasium and should be completed by August 14.
The ground work has also begun for a new bus barn, with the old one to be used for storage of items like track and field equipment and other things where no storage building was previously available.
The new barn will have two full bays and one partial, along with one washing bay.
The floor will be heated, helping maintenance workers.
The new barn will also be bigger than the older one as no busses will be too big to fit in the building. In the old barn, the bus would hang out of the bays on the outside.
Superintendent Mack said she’s also looking at the possibility of getting a new digital sign for the district.