Future renovations expected to provide comfort, security

Jack Latreille, staff reporter

Students returning to South next year will see multiple new building renovations, including new security features, new benches outside the auditorium and a relocated Athletic Director’s office, according to Casey Wright, associate principal for administrative services.

One of the security features coming this summer will be the bollards outside the main entrance, which will cost approximately $45,000, Wright says. A bollard is a post placed between a building and its parking lot and functions so that it doesn’t look like a barrier. If a driver loses control near the building, the car will hit the bollards instead of the building, Principal Dr. Lauren Fagel says.

“The bollards are meant to protect our building in case a car accidentally veers off, or if someone wanted to do harm with their car, the bollards would stop them,” Fagel said. “They will also be structured so that they can serve as benches for students to sit on and planters.”

Another security project South is working on is adding card readers and new locks to classrooms and exterior doors of the school. The card readers are sensors that unlock the door when faculty and staff IDs are scanned, according to Plant Operator Brian Murdy. This prevents unauthorized adults from getting in and out of classrooms. As a sample, there are card readers on five of the World Language classrooms in the link, Wright says. The project should be completed by the end of fall, and Fagel says the card readers allow for staff accessibility in case of emergency.

“If a member of the staff hears a loud noise and feels like they need to take kids to safety, they can just scan and enter a classroom nearby,” Fagel said.

A third project the staff is working on is replacing the benches near the auditorium and cafeteria, Murdy says. The benches will cost around $28,000, Wright says. The new model is currently being sampled in the old pit, and Wright is hopeful that the benches will be ordered and in place before school starts this fall.

“[The benches] would give students more seating options for small groups and independent work, and they would be more comfortable,” Wright said. “There would be more opportunities to connect, collaborate and decompress, which were some of the things we heard from students.”

In addition to the new security features and benches, the Athletic Director’s office will be relocated to room 721, across from the fitness center, Murdy says. The office will take the place of an old storage room and will cost approximately $250,000 to construct. Wright says that the purpose of this relocation is to make the office more accessible.

“The current Athletic Director’s office is tucked in the Titan Dome, and you have to walk through the dome during classes to get there,” Wright said. “It’s not very visible, or centrally located, or accessible for students.”

Students should expect most of these renovations and replacements by the start of the next school year, Fagel says. She also believes that these improvements show the effort and care that go into the building.

“I think these improvements send a message that people really care about the building and want students to have a great experience here,” Fagel said.