Indiana district designs new elementary school for student safety, security

Indiana district designs new elementary school for student safety, security
Green Valley Elementary is designed with safety in mind.
A barrier wall inside the new elementary school. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
A barrier wall inside the new elementary school. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
The new school is bigger in size with a bigger focus on safety. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
The new school is bigger in size with a bigger focus on safety. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

NEW ALBANY, IN (WAVE) –  Friday's school shooting in Noblesville, Indiana hit home for many students and district leaders around Indiana.

Districts like New Albany Floyd County Schools are making their own schools safer in hopes of preventing a tragedy from happening.

When kids at Green Valley Elementary School head home for the summer, they'll be leaving their current facility and coming back in July to their new elementary school that will be done in about a month. But the building they'll be coming back to will have some big changes.

Crews were inside the future school on Friday afternoon, putting in doors and the flooring at the new Green Valley Elementary. The new school is bigger in size with a bigger focus on safety.

"It's at the forefront of what we do. We want the kids to go home safe, be safe and we want to look at it from all angles," said Bill Wiseheart, Director of Facilities at New Albany Floyd County Schools.

Noblesville's shooting on Friday was yet another shock to the system for students, parents and educators.

The district here has learned from tragedies like Sandy Hook and Parkland, leading them to make changes and improvements where security is concerned in schools.

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"From just the way we lay things out in the facility - how you come into the building, how we hold folks until they've been checked out and run through a criminal history before we let them into the building," Wiseheart said. "That's all been greatly improved in this facility, compared to what we had."

One way they're doing that is by installing a barrier between the students and people coming in.

"But they can't get any further than this, there's a wall coming down through here. A glass curtain, a wall type of thing, and you can't get through this unless you're buzzed through," Wiseheart said. "We've also made sure that the offices are brought forward and are adjacent to the entry point and they have a view out toward parking. So we can see what's coming, if we see something that may be off the principal and those folk have the view out that way."

Their other schools have similar barriers to protect kids, he said.

During a special session earlier this month, Indiana Lawmakers approved $5-million for school safety upgrades in buildings. Wiseheart said he hopes the district here is able to get some of that money. They'd like to use it to make more upgrades to safety in other schools.

While you never want to think about something dangerous happening inside your child's school, Wiseheart said they need to prepared for it. And with these new security changes inside the new Green Valley Elementary School, they will be.

The new Green Valley Elementary school will be finished around July 1. The building will be larger and hold more students. On Friday, crews were working on the building's structure and design.

The first day of classes there will be July 26, Wiseheart said, with a soft opening of the school on July 25.

The current elementary school will be torn down in the fall.

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