Walker County Schools will soon have new security systems in all of its schools. And by next summer, all schools will have new HVAC energy controls for heating and air.
Walker County Schools Director of Facilities and Operations Chris Jones told members at their recent planning session that he is working to ensure each summer project is completed before students return next month.
Security systems are being installed in all middle schools so all doors are locked and visitors must be buzzed in.
"They can see you from the office area and let you in or not," said Jones. "All elementary schools' security systems are complete. We will work on the high school security systems this fall. This way, if a bad guy comes, they can't get in. It will help us a lot as far as anyone coming in the building. We have total control with the building."
At Gilbert Elementary School, Jones' team is replacing the whole HVAC central plant and it is on schedule to be completed by July 27. A new cooling tower, new hot water heater, new water pumps, new heat exchange and a new boiler will all be installed, he said.
"We are working on energy controls for HVAC at all schools," said Jones. "We control the temperature when it comes on and off to conserve energy. It is complete at Rock Spring Elementary School. We are working on North LaFayette Elementary School next. It will be done by the first of October."
Throughout the 2016-2017 school year and summer, Jones and his team will install HVAC energy controls in Gilbert Elementary School, Fairyland Elementary School, Chattanooga Valley Elementary School, Chattanooga Valley Middle School and Stone Creek Elementary School so that all schools will have them.
"All schools will have it done by the end of next summer," said Jones. "We will work down the line until it's all done."
In other business:
Primary Healthcare Center's Chief Executive Officer Diana Allen gave a report on the Gilbert Elementary School-Based Health Clinic at the Walker County Board of Education planning session. "We really appreciate the opportunity to come to talk about Gilbert School-Based Health Clinic. Overall, 47 to 50 percent of patients [we serve] are low-income and most are uninsured. We are a hybrid of physician practices. It's a lot of services not normally in a physician's office. We want to provide high-quality services. We help despite the [in]ability to pay."
According to Allen, the Gilbert School-Based Health Clinic has seen a total of 1,201 patients. Of those, 25 percent were uninsured, 41 percent were on Medicaid, 5 percent were on Medicare and 29 percent were on private insurance.