CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) — School safety plans go beyond active fire drills. It is also about having a secure campus.
Expensive plans are underway to renovate Buford Middle School and ultimately make it safer for learning. The word safe has a different meaning than it had 57 years ago when the first students entered the school.
“They thought it was a good idea to have a sort of open plan, which meant that transitions between buildings would be a regular thing where students would go from building to building,” said Michael Goddard. , senior project manager for the Charlottesville facility development.
All of that is changing in Buford Middle School’s renovation plans, which many say are overdue. CCS will eliminate all such access points.
“When you tie the whole building together and make it completely internal, once you have access to the school, it’s easier to control who goes where and when,” Goddard said.
They put the bus loop around the school instead.
“By separating the bus depot from the parent car depot and having discrete areas where these things happen, we can control access to the building a little better,” Goddard said.
Goddard says safety has always been a priority with Buford’s renovation, and unfortunately they have to plan for scary events. The plans are the same as even before the shooting in Uvalde.
“It didn’t change the conversation, but it obviously adds a sense of urgency,” Goddard said.
The dilemma is, he says, that urgency doesn’t exactly come into play. He says it will take about two to three years before things are renovated. There are also the Walker Upper Elementary School renovations to take care of.
“The Buford project is going to cost somewhere in the range of $68, 69 million, on its own, and that’s not much for Walker’s upgrades,” Goddard said. “I think there’s about $2 million in that budget to make Walker usable as a pre-k. It is a huge amount of money that is needed.
For now, there are a few small changes like switching to card access, instead of keys.
“Then it’s a pretty simple process: if a teacher stops working in a school or other staff stop working in the school, you just go to the computer and turn them off “said Goddard.
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