Pilot Point ISD safety and bond
By Abigail Allen
School safety is at the top of Pilot Point Superintendent Todd Southard’s mind, especially following the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde that killed 21 people and injured 17.
One way the district is ramping up safety measures is to reconfigure the offices at the middle and high schools to create secured
“We’ve got to do everything we could possibly do to keep our kids safe,” Southard said.
That reconfiguration is being funded through the bond measure passed by the voters in the November 2021 election.
Having a secured vestibule is one of many security measures Southard and PPISD Police Chief Brad Merritt have discussed.
“The one thing that everybody needs to understand, and I’ve made it very clear to Brad is that I don’t care what it costs,” Southard said. “If you need it, you get it.”
More teachers have also asked to be part of the armed defenders on campus, he added.
In addition to having any of the equipment needed, Southard said, he’s also focusing on the practical applications of the lessons that teachers, staff and students learn regarding lockdown procedures.
Southard plans to have three such drills per campus early in the school year to give students response practice.
“We’re also going to do them with different scenarios, too, to kind of prepare people as best we can,” he said.
In addition to the vestibules, the district is working on renovations promised during the bond election at the Early Childhood Center, Pilot Point Middle School and Pilot Point High School.
“It’s everything, as much as we possibly can, below the ceilings,” Southard said. “… And then, hit everything else next summer.
They will be spread out over two summers, he added, because of supply chain difficulties.
“Getting stuff here is still an issue, and supply chain is killing us like it is everybody else,” Southard said.
One additional project—the transportation center—is being planned out for the 117-acre piece at the corner of U.S. 377 and Foutch Road.
“We’re hoping to get that going sometime this fall,” Southard said.
The district once targeted a 14-acre property it owns north and northwest of Tiger Mart for the center but exit options and potential sale price caused the district to re-examine that idea.
“That 14 acres that we own right there on 377, at some point, is going to come int o play for the district in a very good way,” he said. “It will provide us flexibility.”