Although some steps have already been taken to improve security at schools in Durham and Middlefield in the wake last month's tragedy in Newtown, school officials here continue to review their options in one particular area of concern — portable classrooms.
At Wednesday night's Board of Education meeting, board members were told it would take between 6-8 weeks to enclose all of the district's portable classrooms, which exist at five of the district's six schools.
The total construction would cost about $111,000, according to District 13 business manager Ron Melnik, who said preliminary estimate amounts varied from school to school.
School officials began discussing the safety of portable classrooms following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14.
Teachers are now required to lock their classroom doors and student movement from portable classrooms is more closely monitored, according to administrators.
Improvements to the portable classrooms would include permanent walls, security doors and in some cases, fencing.
Acknowledging that the safety of portable classrooms remained a top priority, some board members said the district should first consider whether any office or storage area could be utilized as a classroom.
"We need to look at any space inside our buildings that is currently used on a full-time basis for something other than a classroom," said board chairman Kerrie Flanagan said. "I think we have to take a very serious look at moving those students inside the four walls of the building."
Administrators are expected to provide the board with an update at the next meeting on Feb. 13.
State Police to Tour Schools
On Feb. 19, State Police troopers from Troop F Barracks in Westbrook will tour Coginchaug High School, Korn Elementary School and Strong Middle School to familiarize themselves with the schools, according to Superintendent Susan Viccaro.
The tours will take place while students are on February break.
State Police also plan to tour the district's three elementary schools, although no date has been set.