Security upgrades approved at two Bay St. Louis schools - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Security upgrades approved at two Bay St. Louis schools

The school is preparing to add even more safety features. (Photo source: WLOX News) The school is preparing to add even more safety features. (Photo source: WLOX News)
Leaders say the improvements will benefit both the school, and the community. (Photo source: WLOX News) Leaders say the improvements will benefit both the school, and the community. (Photo source: WLOX News)
BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) -

More construction will soon begin to boost safety at two schools in Bay St. Louis.

The changes were prompted by the deadly shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012. Shortly after the mass shootings in Connecticut, the Bay-Waveland School District conducted a safety audit of its campuses.

The district completed a $2 million project to fill in security gaps in 2014, and now they are preparing to add even more safety features.

When Bay High was built in 1965, it had 27 entrances. However, that number recently dropped to two and the goal is to cut that down to just one.

"It is a safety concern. We're very pleased that the school board gave approval on that project and approval for us to move forward," said Bay-Waveland Schools Superintendent Dr. Rebecca Ladner.

The Bay-Waveland School Board recently approved $2.3 million in funding to enhance security at the high school. The district will move the entrance from the back of the building to the front, facing Blue Meadow Road.

The plan is to build an 8,000 square foot main entrance and administration building that will connect to the existing commons area.

"So what we're building up front, you'll be entering directly into the office. It's the only way you can enter the school and from there, you will have to be buzzed back into the remainder of the school," said Ladner.

The new entrance will also have a card swipe key system for employees. Plus, the brick and iron fence will be extended to enclose the front of the campus.

"We envision the front to look like a brand new school. That's what we ask of the architect, to modernize it," said Ladner.

The board also gave the green light to begin the design work to renovate and improve the Athletic Complex.That project involves building six new tennis courts, a 600 square-= foot restroom building and pavilion, a girls softball hitting and changing facility, drainage improvements and a parking lot for about 200 vehicles.

"We're excited. We think that not only will it benefit the school here at Bay High and the athletic facility, it will also benefit the community, because we're going to do it right. It's going to look very nice and be an asset to the community," Ladner added.

The funding will also pay for safety improvements at Bay-Waveland Middle School. The school will have a renovated main entrance with a card swipe system and upgraded acoustics. The district expects construction to start in May of 2016. The project should wrap up by August of 2017.

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