As part of an effort to make all county schools more secure, the Amherst County School Board has allocated just more than $266,000 to cover costs of a project to install a vestibule and reconfigure the main office entrance at Amherst County High School.
The division recently had vestibules, or barriers to keep visitors from entering schools without going through a main office area to complete a check-in process, installed in all schools except for Madison Heights Elementary, Monelison Middle and the high school.
The layouts of those schools mean they require more work, according to school officials. The installation at the elementary and middle schools are covered by remaining assets from the recent sale of the former Pleasant View Elementary School in 2018 but the high school project requires more money, said Assistant Superintendent William Wells. The ACHS work also includes building a breezeway from the current main entrance to the main office, which would be renovated to accommodate a new entrance and relocating some offices.
The $266,166 comes from the division’s capital improvement plan.
The division is pursuing a state grant that could offset $250,000 of the costs, according to Wells. If the grant is received the money would go back into the CIP, he said.
The board’s appropriation means those security projects at the three schools can start moving forward and wouldn’t be delayed, Wells said.
“I think the board fully recognizes this is a critical project, a very important project,” Chairman Mike Henderson said. “School safety, it’s one of our highest priorities.”
Board members agreed if the grant doesn’t come through they would still pursue the security improvements.
“I think it takes priority over most anything else,” board member David Cassise said.