Shawnee Mission OK’s security upgrades, demographic study

Highlands is one of the schools on the security upgrade agenda.
Highlands is one of the schools on the security upgrade agenda.

The Shawnee Mission School District is launching into two projects that will have an influence on school facilities in the years to come.

The board last week approved a number of architectural and engineering services requests that will allow for security upgrades at a number of the district schools. Highlands, Belinder, Roesland and Horizons High School are among the buildings where the upgrades are anticipated being completed during the summer of 2014.

At all of the buildings the security improvements include addressing the closed-circuit TV systems, door hardware, door access and exterior site security. The Horizons project also includes the construction of a new secure entry and remodel of the administration area. Earlier this fall the board approved a new school messaging service that will allow for the entire school community to be notified of alerts within minutes.

The second project involves a demographic study of the school district to predict future enrollments. The board approved hiring a company to do a thorough study of population and enrollment trends. Superintendent Jim Hinson said the company, Business Information Services of Blue Springs, MO, will have an “exhaustive” recommendation by February 1, if they can get all the information they need. The district is looking at areas that will re-green and will work with city planners to identify projects that will affect enrollment.

The demographer also will look at school boundaries to see if changes are needed. Hinson said he has heard from the school community about long-range facility planning. “This is one of the tools,” he said. Besides boundary changes, additions to some buildings could be a solution, depending on what the study reveals.

The board also did a first reading of a policy change that would reduce board meetings from twice per month to once per month.