Harrisonburg Schools to Undergo Renovations to Increase Safety

By: Estephany Escobar Email
By: Estephany Escobar Email

Harrisonburg City Council gave approval for school leaders to use funds for major renovations at the entrances of five schools.

W.H. Keister, Waterman, Stone Spring, Spotswood Elementary and Thomas Harrison Middle School will have entrances that lead visitors to the main office.

Currently, when visitors walk into these schools, they enter the main lobby. They are usually welcomed by a greeter who asks about their purpose of being at the school. This person usually directs visitors to the main office.

Roger Soenksen is a parent of a child at at W.H. Keister Elementary School.

"The most precious commodity we have is our children so we wanna do everything we can to protect them," said Soenksen.

Keister principal Anne Lintner said staff members work every day to keep the school safe. After the renovations, visitors will go through the main office before they can go into the corridors.

"Safety is always a priority at our school and having students routed into our office is a good way to make sure that we're clear on who is here," said Lintner.

School leaders will use $250,000 from their $600,000 unappropriated fund to pay for the costs.

The fund equals 1 percent of the school's operating budget, which is $16 million.

Soenksen said he is pleased with the response of the schools to safety in the aftermath of the Connecticut school shooting.

"I think the school board is being very proactive in terms of coming up with a design that is gonna be feasible and as a parent I greatly appreciate them coming up with the funds," said Soenksen.

Superintendent Dr. Scott Kizner said the project will start during the summer and will be completed by August.

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