Board OKs security moves

The West Baton Rouge Parish School Board voted unanimously Wednesday to give School Superintendent David Corona a green light to meet with authorities regarding new security measures in light of the Dec. 14 Newtown, Conn., mass shootings that killed 27 people, including 20 children, six school employees and the shooter’s mother.

Corona will meet shortly with the commander of the West Baton Rouge Crisis Response Team to review all emergency plans for the school district’s 10 campuses to develop individual crisis management strategies that will be used to train school personnel.

The board’s action came after parish law enforcement officials presented briefings during committee meetings on Monday on how to improve school security.

“None of this is pleasant,” Corona read to the board from a prepared statement. “We’ll do all we can to protect our children and employees.”

Board member Toby Sarradet asked Corona to present the board with as much information as possible relating to ways of improving school security.

“This threat from society is not going away,” Sarradet said before the vote authorizing Corona to proceed with upgrading school security matters. “We need to put a good plan together.”

Board member Ronald LeBlanc told Corona to consider “the sky as the limit” when it comes to meeting costs that may be related to suggestions for improving security that he and the parish crisis team might address.

“I think you’re going down the correct path,” Corona said. “These meetings are going to be open-ended, continued discussions.”

Other items considered by the board included:

SCHOOL PLANS: The School Board unanimously approved the floor plans for a proposed 13,000-square-foot addition to Brusly Elementary.

The new wing, estimated to cost between $2.6 million to $3 million, will add 16 new classrooms to the elementary school, which has been coping with overcrowded conditions for some time.

Corona said the project should be completed by June 1, 2014.

The board’s approval of the floor plans, by architectural firms Dean Hotard & Associates, of Port Allen, and Robertson Loia Roof Architects & Engineers, of Atlanta, cleared the way for the board to seek construction bids.

Dean Hotard told board members the board would be able to advertise the project for bids in fewer than two months.