GOWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Gowanda Central School District could receive $29 million in safety renovations if voters decide to pass a facility upgrade measure on Thursday 12/13.
"They are updates and upgrades to make sure our students feel secure at school, and if you don't feel secure, you're not going to learn," Superintendent Robert Anderson, said.
There would be two main renovations. The first is creating a completely new front entrance.
"There's no direct line of sight from office staff. There's no one there to greet them. People are expected to go to the office but people could wander the entire complex," Anderson said.
Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Lieutenant Brandon Walters said it's crucial to have a direct line of sight of who is coming into the school or lingering in the area.
"Controlling who is coming into your school and for what reason and where they go when they come into your school is imperative. You have to be able to control that," Walters said.
The second safety measure would be adding air conditioning to all schools in the district.
"If the windows are open, it's just another point of entry to the building, and it negates the front door," Anderson said.
Anderson said it gets into the 90's during hotter months, which makes it difficult for students to focus and teachers to teach. Anderson said he hopes that having air conditioning will keep the students focused, while mitigating the risk of unwelcome guests.
"The whole project is interrelated. I mean, we can't do the security measures without doing stuff to classrooms, so it's all really intertwined."
Keeping the windows closed, also means preventing people from handing things through the window.
"We have had issues across the county as well as Gowanda with windows being open. Things (were) being passed into the window that were coming from the outside."
Gowanda voters aren't just voting on these safer measures. The two safety improvements are part of a $29 million initiative that also includes efficiency upgrades. The second initiative is a $1.3 million renovation of the baseball and softball fields. You can vote on the items separate.
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