Frontenac School Board members recently approved moving forward with a couple safety improvement projects. One of them is starting construction on two FEMA storm shelters — one between the two lower schools, the other will be at the high school.
Rick Simoncic, Superintendent, Frontenac School District
“Currently we have no concrete overhead — we just use our interior classrooms as our storm shelters,” explained Superintendent Rick Simoncic. “But, this will provide opportunity as we have actual FEMA shelters in place and our kids will be safe with concrete over their heads and the concrete walls and everything.”
Administrators will also add new security cameras to their school buses. This comes in an effort to stop any bullying or misbehavior from students so the bus driver can focus on the road.
“Just a safety issue. And that way, the driver can focus on the road and make sure everyone can get to and from school safely,” Simoncic added.
The final part of this project will be exchanging some of the windows on the building with more durable materials to keep out intruders. Some of these concerns have come up from parents in previous board meetings, so school staff members are happy to deliver all these new safety upgrades.
“We’re really excited about the grant, because we’re doing this without a mill levy.” Simoncic continued. “We’re not raising taxes. We spent the last year-and-a-half saving money and we’re trying to spread this project over three fiscal years of budgets and not raising taxes for tax payers, so I think tax payers are very appreciative of that–a factor that we’re not going to be raising taxes to make this project work.”
The FEMA storm shelters are only partially funded by a $1 million federal grant — the school district will fund the other $3 million to build them.
They will also serve as classrooms, and construction for those is set to start next year. The school plans to start looking at bids for both the windows and the cameras sometime soon.