Since the beginning of the school year, class bells, announcements and fire alarms have been difficult or impossible to hear in certain parts of the building.
Over the summer, renovations made the locker rooms ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible, however, principal John Koch and P.E and Health teacher, Kristen Warren believe that the work done resulted in the bells going unheard in the girls locker room. This caused further tension when the clocks and class bells were not in sync.
“Students were being asked to stay in the locker room and they (would) point at the clocks on their phones saying it’s time to go,” Warren said.
At this time, Warren was forced to constantly watch the time and use her best judgement as to when to release students. However, this was less of a concern to Warren in comparison to the inability to hear the fire alarm and announcements.
Other parts of the school were experiencing these problems as well.
“If the class is singing and I am playing piano, we cannot hear the bells,” choir director Janine Kirstein said. “But the worst thing is we can’t hear the (fire alarm). It is super quiet.”
Band director, Nicholas Budge experiences the same issue Kirstein’s class does along with an unreliable clock that is slow anywhere from five to twenty minutes. This causes Budge to take time out of rehearsal to check the clock so that his students are out of class on time.
“My bigger concern is that I can’t hear the fire alarm.” Budge said.
The bell and clock systems in our school are antiquated, making it the only real culprit for the two not being synchronized, Koch explained.
Koch also said that the school board is currently researching the possibility of asking the voters to pass a bond. If a bond is passed, the bell and clock systems will be one of the things remedied. Taking priority over this, the proper functioning of the fire alarms around the school will be addressed first as it is a safety concern.
“For about a month the technicians have been searching for the source of the problem,” principal John Koch said. “I believe after the completion of the work, the alarms will all be working.”
During Thanksgiving break, technicians came in to repair the issue in the girls locker room. The alarm now works but bells and announcements are still unable to be heard. Because the system is so complex, no one has been able to figure it out. This has been an ongoing operation for six to seven weeks.
Koch states that the trouble with fixing this in an operating school is difficult because girls are in and out of the locker room therefore work cannot be done during the day. However, the issue will continue to be addressed until it is functioning properly.