Security is a top priority for local schools, but the Hall County School District also wants to improve the security of its central office.
“We’ve spent a ton of money making sure that we’ve made a lot of infrastructure changes at all 33 of our schools around the district the last four or five years,” Superintendent Will Schofield said. “It’s money we should have spent.”
Meanwhile, the central office has fallen behind in terms of 21st century security and traffic flow, Schofield said.
Matt Cox said the district has discussed internally some potential improvements for the central office, and he presented the school board with some potential changes to the building at the board’s meeting Monday.
Cox said there are two main issues in the facility.
“First of all, just overall security,” he said. “With folks coming in, there’s a lot of traffic in and out of the building. Secondly, trying to make sure we’re putting up a friendly face for Hall County Schools.”
The changes to the building will include installing additional secure doors, which will require a key card to enter. One of the doors will be placed outside the stairwell and elevator, which eliminates the need for a key card entrance to both.
“We’re looking at moving the stairwell door around, and taking the security access point off the elevator door and stair door and moving it,” Cox said. “So we’ll have just one point where employees can come, scan their cards and go in.”
Another door will be installed just past the front desk at the front of the building.
“Right now, if the ladies are on the phone, someone can actually come in and pass right by them,” Cox said. “So we’re looking at another security door just past where they are.”
Cox said they will also work to improve foot traffic in that area, but remove the two freestanding desks and creating one longer desk in the front office, with more seating for guests.
The construction also includes rearranging the technology department, adding two offices, a small storage room and a small conference room that could also be used for overflow guests if the front office gets crowded.
Finally, a small meeting room will be constructed just off the front office, so anyone from upstairs can come down and meet quickly and privately with a guest without having to bring them upstairs.
Schofield said he isn’t sure how much the project would cost — he ballparked anywhere from $40,000 to $80,000 — but he said he believes it would be money well-spent.
“We want this building to be as secure and as user-friendly as we’ve tried to make all of our school facilities,” Schofield said.