20 Oct 2016

Schools are finding Metal Gates safer then any alternitive  (garage door repair westchester ny)


Napa Junction Elementary School has been selected to spearhead the Napa Valley Unified School District’s plan to make all of its schools more secure by keeping intruders off campuses.

Two wrought-iron gates were installed last week at Napa Junction, marking the beginning of a pilot project by the school district.

NVUSD plans to add gates and fencing, as well as cameras and alarms, to nearly all elementary, middle school and high school campuses over the next few years, fulfilling a promise by NVUSD during its campaign for Measure H, the $269 million school bond approved in June.

“For the most part we live in a pretty safe community,” said Don Evans, the school district’s construction chief. “But there are those times that things are happening that we would rather have a controlled environment.”

The cities of Napa and American Canyon have been fortunate in recent years, having not experienced the horrors of a school shooting. The district would like to keep it this way by closing off campuses with fences and locked gates during school hours, forcing all visitors to go through the administration building to gain entry.

This secure situation is now in effect at Napa Junction. Before last week, anyone could walk past the school office and enter the school grounds without impediment.

Now, beginning with the morning bell at 8:10 a.m., the new metal gates are closed and locked on the outside. They remain that way until the end of school at 1:30 p.m. for kindergarten and 2:30 p.m. for the other grades. (garage door repair westchester ny)HTB1vNP0HXXXXXXIXVXXq6xXFXXXa

The gates can be opened from the inside by anyone, staff or student, in the event of an emergency.

Principal Donna Drago was delighted that her school was chosen first by NVUSD for the project.

“I love the gate,” said Drago. “I’ve wanted this for a long time, a closed campus.”

“We’ve got a lot of programs going on here,” she added. “You have so many adults on campus, and it’s impossible to know who everybody is.”

But by funneling all visitors through the front office, Drago and her staff will know who’s who.

“It just gives us that extra layer of protection,” she said. “You don’t want people walking on campus” nowadays, not in the wake of Sandy Hook Elementary and other school shootings.

“It is a very different time,” said Drago, who noted that her teachers and students practice lock-down drills three to four times a year, up from what used to be just once annually.

“They’re as important as the fire drill,” she said. (garage door repair westchester ny)

Evans said the district selected Napa Junction for the pilot project “because there had been some concern expressed” at that location about security.

The campus sits in a cul-de-sac at the end of Napa Junction Road. The semi-industrial area includes a storage facility on one side of the school and a Little League complex on another.

It is “an isolated school, not a lot of residences around it,” said Evans. “We thought we could help the situation by piloting this wrought iron gate at Napa Junction.”

NVUSD is also being mindful about the appearance of gates and fences. Officials say they don’t want to recreate the penitentiary environment found at public schools in big cities.

“We’re going to be careful where we put” new infrastructure, said Evans. “I want people to feel comfortable when they walk up. When you go into Oakland or Berkeley [schools], it’s like a prison,” with some campuses sporting 10-foot fences topped by barbed wire. (garage door repair westchester ny)

That’s why the district chose wrought iron over chain link, Evans said, believing the former has a “softer” feel.

“It’s nice looking,” said Drago about the new gates. “It’s minimalist but does the job.”

Evans said early use of the Napa Junction gates has revealed the need for some adjustments. The metal doors can bang against the metal frames, producing unwanted noise while school is in session.

Workers will be adding rubber stripping to minimize this problem.

The wrought iron gates may also be fitted with springs to make them easier to open, said Evans.

Napa Junction does not need perimeter fencing to secure the remainder of the campus from the outside. But the district plans to install interior fencing so the community can access some of the grounds after school or on weekends without exposing the facilities to the risk of vandalism. (garage door repair westchester ny)

“We want our neighbors to be able to get into the play area [at schools] but not into the heart of the school,” said Evans. “What you’re going to find is we’re going to be putting secondary fences, say at Napa Junction, so people can’t get into the school itself.”

Napa Junction isn’t the only American Canyon school to play an important role in the development of NVUSD’s new campus security policy. (garage door repair westchester ny)

Canyon Oaks Elementary School was held up as a model by Evans during the Measure H campaign, saying the district’s newest elementary school had exactly the kind of perimeter fencing and gating all schools should have.

“That’s a great school,” Evans said about Canyon Oaks, built in 2004. “You can go inside it, and it doesn’t look like you’re enclosed, but you truly are.”

The school features black wrought-iron fencing and gates that prevent visitors from entering the campus during school hours. The administration building is the only way in during such times.

Canyon Oaks’ secure perimeter has also resulted in little or no vandalism, according to Evans.

“You can’t get in there, be hidden and do bad things” there, he said.

Drago has used Canyon Oaks as a model as well. Once she knew she was getting her own gates, she contacted her colleague, Principal Kay Vang, to learn what protocol Canyon Oaks was using for its security infrastructure.

She liked Vang’s protocol so much that she copied it for Napa Junction.

Once the district is satisfied with the additions at Napa Junction, it will move on to other elementary schools.

West Park, Pueblo Vista and Napa Valley Language Academy may be the first ones in Napa to become closed campuses, according to Evans.

He said he hopes to have all elementary campuses fitted with new gates, and, where necessary, fences by the end of next summer.

After that, Evans will turn his attention to the middle schools and high schools. (garage door repair westchester ny)

The addition of fencing and gates will not impact Vintage, Napa and American Canyon high schools’ open campus policies during lunchtime, according to Evans. He said campus supervisors could ensure the gates remain open during the noontime break.

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