SPRINGFIELD — “Vestibules” are the entry ways that separate entrance doors from the school itself.
Over the last few months Springfield Public Schools officials have been looking at options to improve facilities, and many of them have had architectural studies done to consider adding vestibules for security.
Vestibules are barriers between the entrance doors and the school itself used for guests to check-in upon arrival.
The school board has already done studies recommending vestibules for several schools, but at Tuesday night’s board meeting, a recommendation was made to make sure every building is equipped with a vestibule.
The Board of Education has committed in excess of $4.3 million to assist in delivery of some of these projects.
Many of those projects have been studied over a number of months, but Deputy Superintendent of Springfield Public Schools Carol Embree says there is still more work to be done on the security front.
“We currently have 21 sites that are not part of the original project study list, that have been identified for some special review. Some of those sites may have entry ways where a person may access a variety of spaces before arriving at the office,” Embree says.
The schools do have security measures in place right now.
“All of our buildings are locked and there is a buzzer system by which people access the person in the office.”
However, not all of them have vestibules, which would provide that extra layer of contact before visitors can get into the hallways. A big challenge lies in the way some of those schools are structured.
Many of them are around 100 years old.
“There may be stairs immediately on the other side of the entry door. In some situations, by simply moving the office to the front of the building, that might provide for a more secure entry way,” Embree says.
This is not a one-size fits all process.
“The majority of our buildings are not identical in structure. We have a different design and floor plan for many of them. That makes each of these projects unique in nature,” Embree says.
The board approved additional architectural studies to be done on many schools that need vestibules, and those results are expected to be back by September 20th for evaluation on what it would cost to create them in each school.
A task force assigned by the SPS board to consider projects will review the studies to present for the school board.