Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Reek's new first-class entrance

by Steve Targo

March 14, 2013

Editor’s note: This is the final installment in a series about Reek School’s $2.8 million renovation/repair project. An article about the parking lot improvement plan appeared in the Feb. 28 edition, and one about the cost of different areas of the project appeared in the March 7 edition.

LINN — There are two sets of double doors on the northern side of Reek School.

Which ones are considered the main entrance? Well, if you focused on size and layout, you might suspect it’s the doors near the large sign with Reek School’s name and announcements on it.

However, a keener eye for detail would reveal there’s another sign, one that says “main entrance,” with an arrow pointing toward the set of doors further east from the large sign.

But if the $2.8 million referendum project that voters approved last November goes through as planned, there should be no question as to where the main entrance to Reek is located. The plan calls for, among other things, adding walls and large lettering above the main entrance.

“We’re going to do this first-class,” said Ryan Southwick, school board member and head of the committees overseeing the referendum project.

He said safety is a primary concern.

Currently, those doors east of the sign won’t open unless someone in the front office buzzes a person in.

But once someone is buzzed in, they don’t pass through the front office.

The foyer is little more than a slight corridor that links up to the main hallway.

Stairs to the second floor are near that foyer.

“Once you’re buzzed in now, you could go anywhere,” Southwick said.

The plan for the new main entrance — which is estimated to cost $220,000 — calls for building walls off the existing shell.

Southwick said guests would enter through double doors and “airlock” into a secure lobby.

“There would be bulletproof glass, electronically-controlled doors and security cameras,” Southwick said, adding that if there was a situation when someone was a threat to the school, they could be locked within this new foyer.

But worst-case scenarios aside, the plan also calls for redesigning the administrative office. Once visitors enter Reek, they will have to go through the office, Southwick said. “So visitors can enter the office without getting into the school,” he said. “One advantage there is it forces you to sign in.”

The planning that went into the new main entrance also shows attention to school pride. According to Southwick, there will be visitor seating in this foyer. There also will be displays of student artwork. “In this lobby, what’s great is we can also do multimedia displays, like video yearbooks and (other student) projects,” he said.

The new entrance also would be where students would be picked up by their parents, which dovetails into the plan to redo the parking lot. Part of the referendum project calls for creating an entrance drive, expanding the lot by 36 stalls and creating traffic lanes to separate parental and bus traffic.

So, if all that’s done, what about that entrance by the large sign? The “front west secondary entrance,” as it’s called in the project outline Southwick provided, may be eliminated. There is an estimate of $45,000 to change this part of the building.

That would depend, however, on the outcome of the parking lot plan.

The lot improvements hinge upon the sale of land, which is being negotiated.

However, the project outline states the front west entrance may become a student work area. It also states the outside canopy would be removed. As for the large sign, a conceptual rendering shows that it would be moved closer to the new main entrance.