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School board to accept bids for security and safety improvements

School board member Don Gee shares a laugh with DLR Group principal and architect Eric Beron during a presentation over the proposed security project for the Creston School District during a special school board meeting Monday night in the administration building board room.
School board member Don Gee shares a laugh with DLR Group principal and architect Eric Beron during a presentation over the proposed security project for the Creston School District during a special school board meeting Monday night in the administration building board room.

would replace the fire alarm and intercom systems in all three buildings, allowing for enhanced forms of mass communication during emergencies.

The reason for the matter taking place in a special meeting is due to Creston City Council’s plans to discuss the project Tuesday night. Beron said this is due to the nature of the project being a matter for both the school and the council, stating the need for support from both groups.

“They are going to have a proclamation or statement to acknowledge that the city and the school district are partnered in a fashion moving forward,” said Beron.

While the proposed changes passed, there were concerns with the current plan. Creston Community School District Superintendent Deron Stender originally was uncertain with the time frame of construction.

“I was originally not happy with the December time frame,” said Stender. “But then I started to think about how long it took to do a playground. The school is 350,000 square feet. They’re pulling wire from majority of our buildings. They’re moving wire. It’s a lot of technology. To do that in the course of a summer, I just don’t think it’s possible.”

Board member Dr. Brad James voiced his support for safety improvements but is uneasy with the cost of the measures given the constant needs for technological upgrades.

“I am in favor of doing everything we can for the safety of our children,” said James. “That is essential. But if we were to draw a depreciation curve, I wonder what that would look like.”

Stender said much of the tech in the district needs replaced anyway, believing the best step is to get ahead of the curve. A large portion of the funding comes from the Community Oriented Policing Services grant the school had been awarded. The grant is for $500,000 and is provided through the STOP School Violence Act to upgrade safety and security measures at all Creston schools.

“Combination of the grant, the physical plant and equipment levy and savings from state sales tax will support this,” said Stender. “While it’s innovative, it’s important for people to know we aren’t just doing something for the sake of doing something. We are doing it to improve the safety and security of our schools and community.”

Board member Terry Freeman moved for a vote to set the bid date and time as 2 p.m. Feb. 6, The motion was seconded by James, passing with all five votes.

The board also voted to hold a public hearing on the project 6 p.m. Feb. 17 in the Administration Building Board Room. This motion was made by board member Don Gee and was seconded by member Sharon Snodgrass. This vote passed unanimously.

A final vote was held to approve the amended 2020-2021 modified supplemental allowance at-risk summary and budget. The board approved this at the December meeting but changes occurred in the state calculations with the district being eligible for nearly $10,000 more than the amount approved originally. This program is designed to focus on attendance, mental health, behaviors and students who may be at risk. The motion was made by Gee, seconded by Freeman and passed unanimously.

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