Smethport Area School District superintendent David London stands at the elementary school secure entrance several days before it was completed. Visitors will get a sneak peak of the summertime improvements during today’s “Back to School” event.
– Era photo by Fran De Lancey
SMETHPORT — Those people attending tonight’s “Back to School” at the Smethport Area School District will see major changes in both the elementary and high school buildings that have been part of this summer’s renovation project.
The evening’s schedule opens with seventh grade orientation at the high school from 5:30-7 p.m. At the same time, there will be an open house in the elementary school for pre-K, kindergarten and grades 1-6, and this includes new student orientation, parent information and transportation verification.
Local agencies will also have tables set up in the elementary lobby from 5:30-7 p.m.
Tours of both buildings are slated from 5:30-8 p.m.
The activities move to the football stadium from 7-8 p.m. for a marching band performance, introduction of all fall sports teams and cheerleaders, book reading and book giveaway for elementary students.
More information is available on the school district’s website at http://www.smethportschools.com.
Regarding the buildings’ renovations, Superintendent David London said, “We addressed the four major areas of need in the district, namely security, HVAC, restrooms and flooring.”
Important changes at both buildings reflect the need for enhanced security as recent national tragedies at the nation’s schools have reinforced the need for new designs to keep students, staff and visitors safe. For instance, new technology will help protect not only the students, staff and visitors, but also equipment and important data.
Secure entrances to both buildings are now operational, London said. The Raptor system checks and records visitors and prints a visitor pass, which should reduce traffic to the main office, and a security vestibule will manage visitor traffic. London said, “With the Access Control System, exterior locks will be changed and a new key system will be implemented. A door alarm at the elementary school will signal if a student runs out of the building.”
According to London, “All district heating, ventilation and air conditioning are now under new controls with all new uni-vents and many new air handling, air conditioning and exchange units.
New roof top units, chiller replacements, controls, and thermostats are located throughout the schools.
“The HVAC improvements in the high school gym and auditorium will assure comfort during those summer and warmer months and assemblies and school events year-round,” London noted. In the elementary school, a condensing unit has been placed on the roof that allows for more efficient cooling.
Additional security measures have been installed for safe passage through the elementary school ramp “chute” connecting the two schools. Elementary school restrooms that use less water, are more efficient and less expensive are finished and operational. At the high school, one set of restrooms will be finished after school starts. Those in the science wing of the building should be ready by the students’ first day of school.
“New VCT flooring stair retreads and brighter lighting give our school a new look,” stated London. “A new quarter-inch thick rubber skate and spike resistant flooring has been installed in the high school locker room.”
Other renovations will lead to cost savings. District-wide lighting upgrades provide better illumination at one-third the expense. In the elementary gym, motion activated sensors control lighting.
“There is still some work to be done, but they’re mostly minor things,” London told The Era. “Some work could be happening over Thanksgiving vacation, and work on the HVAC control system will be ongoing.”
London praised the McClure Co. of Harrisburg and their contractors for their professionalism, saying “I have a great deal of confidence in their company and the work they did for us. There were 165 different skilled workers at our schools this summer, and many were our own local residents who work in the skilled trades.”