The Santa Fe (Texas) district is considering security upgrades and renovations at its high school as parents seek changes in the aftermath of a shooting there in May that killed 10 people.
The Houston Chronicle reports that one of the proposals calls for gutting the rooms where the shooting spree began so that students won't have to enter the space again.
The renovation proposals came during a school board discussion about dipping into the district's “rainy day” reserve fund to upgrade safety at Santa Fe High School. Options discussed included securing the perimeter with fencing, adding security doors that could be raised in an emergency and modifying one of the building’s longest hallways.
But parents who spoke at Santa Fe's first regular board meeting since the May 18 shooting demanded more before they would agree to send their children back to district schools.
“If I can’t look my child in the eye and tell her she’s going to be safe, she’s not coming back,” says Kendra Hammond, a parent.
District officials have discussed security upgrades that could be carried out at Santa Fe High before students return Aug. 21.
The majority of options presented called for gutting the art rooms where the gunman began his attack and converting them into storage spaces. One option would convert the rooms into an interior weight room and another would transform the room into storage and office space for the district's police department.
The proposals ranged in cost from about $322,500 to $585,000
Another change proposed for Santa Fe High is a new, larger security vestibule that could be created as part of the school’s lobby. Such an expansion would help facilitate the use of metal detectors, although the board has not yet discussed or approved adding metal detectors.
New floors would replace all main hallways throughout the campus, much of which were torn up and removed after the shooting. School officials also have discussed temporarily relocating the school’s drill and dance room from its location adjacent to the art rooms to what is now a backstage area of the school’s split cafeteria and auditorium space.
The proposals that the board is reviewing would be the first in multiple rounds of renovations at the high school, says Bob Atkins, the district's executive director of facilities, maintenance and operations.