Strongsville schools will tighten security at building entrances, increase police presence
STRONGSVILLE, Ohio — This summer, the Strongsville City School District will tighten security at the main entrances to its five elementary schools, the Early Learning Preschool and Strongsville High School’s athletic wing. When improvements are completed, visitors to the schools will face a double-screening process. District workers will identify visitors before buzzing them into the main office.
Once visitors are inside, workers will determine why they are there and where in the building they need to go. To finish the work before the 2018-2019 school year starts, the school board last month waived a requirement to seek formal bids for construction jobs. Ohio law allows exceptions to the bidding process “for the security and protection of school property.”
“To be clear, if we did the process the way we normally would, those bids would have to come back to board meetings, we’d have to vote on them, and time is of the essence,” board member Richard Micko said at the April 5 board meeting. “We want to get this this work done this summer.” Meanwhile, the district is working with the City of Strongsville to beef up police presence at the elementary schools and preschool. The increased coverage started April 30, although the district wants to keep the details secret for the sake of security.
“The safety of our students, teachers, staff and administration throughout the district is our top priority,” Superintendent Cameron Ryba said in a press release. Strongsville and other local districts started examining their security after 17 people were shot dead Feb.
14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. In March, Ryba and Strongsville police officials reviewed the schools’ existing security, and talked about future improvements, during a public forum at Strongsville Middle School.
Strongsville schools lay out security plans, will not arm teachers During the forum, Ryba said the district, among other measures, planned to enhance security at the elementary schools and was considering adding security personnel. The district has already added a second resource officer, this one assigned to the middle school.
Another resource officer continues to serve the high school. Ryba, in an email to cleveland.com, said the district would be unable to finish the improved school entrances by the start of next school year if it had to advertise for bids, choose winning bidders for various aspects of the job and get board approval for each bid. Nevertheless, Ryba said the district will informally seek competitive bids with help from its general contractor, RFC Contracting Inc. in Strongsville.
For any contract exceeding £50,000, the administration will ask for board approval, as required by district policy, but after the fact.
Ryba said the district had no cost estimate for the project.
He said an estimate will become available once designs are finalized.