The system plans to install new automatic locking doors, new intercom systems and some schools will be getting new phone systems, Superintendent Claire Dryden said. Some of it was work Dryden said she knew needed to be done when she took over as superintendent in January. Some was recommended by former Heflin police Chief Robert Pittman after he did a walk-through of each school looking for safety issues, she said.
The upgrades will cost the system about $100,000, Dryden estimated, and the move has caused some changes in the school system’s capital improvement plans. For instance, the school system had planned to renovate the bathrooms at the Cleburne County High School gymnasium. That project has been put on hold in favor of the security devices.
“We just had to be creative in what we spend our money on and we just had to prioritize,” Dryden said. “The students’ safety is the number-one concern.”
Administrators have been working to revise the safety plans throughout the system. The plans are due to the Alabama State Department of Education by July 17, Dryden said. She is also working with local law enforcement to schedule a live shooter training event for staff and faculty at one of the schools. She hopes to schedule that in August, Dryden said.
Board member Donya Beam declined to comment about the system’s safety plans. Attempts to reach other board members for comment were unsuccessful.
The school system will also paint and put new gutters on the Ranburne High School gymnasium, Dryden said. It will refinish the gym floors at all the schools and replace the roof at Cleburne County High School, she added.
Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.