Security concerns and infrastructure needs in the East Valley School District were laid out at Tuesday’s Spokane Valley City Council meeting.
Kelly Shea, EVSD superintendent, said the district’s current unlocked-door makeup and aging HVAC systems are the largest concerns. These are the key components of the two-year, $13 million capital levy that will go before district voters in the Nov. 6 general election.
“Right now, you can walk through the front door without being stopped,” Shea said. “But there is a difference between the world that we lived in and the world that we live in today.”
In the wake of school-shooting incidents – and underlined by the local tragedy at Freeman High School a year ago -- many school districts are converting two a two-door entry system that requires visitors to interact with office staff before entering buildings.
Rooms would also be equipped with interior automatic locking-door systems in the event of an emergency.
“Since Columbine, no one had been harmed if in a locked room,” Shea said.
The district is also looking to upgrade heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems in various schools, as well as putting in gym dividers at the elementary schools where physical education classes and lunches are occurring at the same time.
Finally, the district also has to deal with relocating athletic fields for its middle and high school in the area of Sullivan Road and Wellesley Avenue in order to accommodate Spokane County’s Forker Road improvements. Progress Road was closed just north of the middle school earlier this week.
“We’ll be seeing a series of closures over the next couple of years,” Shea said, adding that the roadway and adjacent right-of-way property will spill over into existing district property. “The fact is the kids need a place to play.”
Finally, the drop-off/pickup area at Trentwood Elementary would also be improved along with expanded parking.
While the visit with the council was for information purposes, Shea said he hoped to strengthen the district’s relationship with the city.