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Project calls for revising school entrance


Change will increase security, limit access to building



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ANOTHER FACTOR in the Woods School referendum project is the redesigning of the main entrance. Principal Ed Brzinski said with this plan, people will have to pass the main office before they can enter the school. (click for larger version)
August 27, 2013 | 12:55 PM
GENEVA — It’s the kind of thing that Woods School Principal Ed Brzinski said keeps him awake at night, a security issue he said the proposed $5.55 million referendum project would address.

“When someone enters that front door, they can immediately go into the rest of our building,” Brzinski said.

But wait, doesn’t the school have a front entrance which unlocks only when front office staff triggers the unlock button?

Yes, but that entrance provides instant access to the school’s main corridor. Students or someone leaving the school can potentially allow a visitor to enter Woods School without going through the front office and signing in.

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“Even though we tell kids not to open that door, sometimes they might,” Brzinski said. “That’s the wild card. Students are polite. They might recognize a face (but) we should have control over who enters the building.”

Or there are situations such as the one Aug. 21.

The school floors were being waxed and visitors were directed to enter the school through a door which leads directly into the gym, where volleyball practice was taking place. Brzinski said so far, they have been fortunate.

“Since I’ve been here, the only issues have been that we’ve occasionally had someone enter the building and not check into the office,” he said. “So then Kathy (Smiley, who handles office/attendance duties) or myself will have to chase them down and get them to sign in.”

Revised entrance plan

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One facet of the Woods referendum project is revising the entrance so that people who enter have to go through the front office.

Basically, another set of double doors would be added in the main corridor.

Brzinski said the office staff would be able to see who is visiting once they enter the building — a feature that’s lacking currently — and they would have to sign in before they are allowed access through the second set of doors.

The new set of doors, however, would not prevent someone from entering what’s used now as the kindergarten classroom, but Brzinski said that space would become a board/community room, if the project were implemented.

Other aspects of the proposed referendum project include:

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  • A 22,000-square-foot addition, which includes a new gym, six classrooms and storage space.

  • Upgrading kitchen equipment to comply with requirements necessary in order to offer a hot lunch program.
Voters will decide the fate of the proposed $5.55 million project Nov. 5, Brzinski said.

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He said he thinks the board will find success if it conveys the message that the school needs extra space and there are safety concerns.

The big security flaw right now, he said, is being able to limit access to the building.

“We just don’t want anything to happen,” said Brzinski. “We’re trying to be proactive.”

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