The Muscatine Community School District has completed the construction project of the new Jefferson Elementary school. Children are now filling the hallways and classrooms, and learning has begun. The transition from old to new is complete; the students, faculty and staff are enjoying the innovations of the new building.
Built into the construction design, the new building is energy efficient in areas of heating and lighting. The desks are sized for the appropriate classes, and boards are hung lower on the walls of the younger children’s classrooms to make the rooms more inviting and accommodating. The building design also includes a media center that can be easily modified to fit various class sizes and needs as time goes on.
Energy efficiency and student experience were not the only factors taken into consideration with the new building plan. Safety was a major factor as well. The building has a secure entrance with limited access to the building from the street. In addition to limited entrances, the building comes with a special lock down feature. The building is able to be completely locked down from a central location. If this process is activated, the exterior doors, as well as the interior doors, will all be locked.
Traditionally, the doors in the school buildings need a key to be locked and have to be locked from the outside. This creates a dangerous situation should a real emergency take place.
According to Jerry Riibe, Muscatine Community School District Superintendant, “The most important thing is keeping folks out who should not be in.” While the other buildings in the district may not have the same high tech solution, safety has been evaluated throughout the district.
MCSD has decided against using the “Sleeve,” which is manufactured by several Muscatine area teachers at Fighting Chance Solutions in Muscatine. Instead, the district is working to convert all classroom doors to intruder doors, which may be locked from the inside of the classroom. Riibe notes that in some of the older buildings replacing the doors can be a difficult task. In these instances, the district is focusing instead on securing exterior entrances.
Buildings are now equipped with electronic exterior doors that require either a pass key to enter or an employee on the inside of the building to allow a visitor to gain entrance. Riibe goes on to say, “We understand that we have every family’s most precious treasure sitting in our classroom; we do not take that lightly.”