PEPPER PIKE — At the end of 2019, the Orange Board of Education discussed a $2.5 million locker room renovation at the high school. The conversation soon expanded to include plans to renovate the front entrance of Orange High School and the board on Monday reviewed two rough sketches.

Bob Orovets of ThenDesign Architecture made the sketches, but had no cost estimates. Albert M. Higley Co. gave a guaranteed maximum price of $2.5 million for the locker room renovation in December.

“I’d be interested in a cost comparison between these,” Board of Education President Beth Wilson-Fish said of the two front entrance options.

Superintendent Lynn Campbell explained that a new entrance needs to meet two goals. First, the high school needs to have a system where visitors are buzzed in twice. The person would be buzzed into the vestibule from the outside and must state the reason for their visit, he said. School security can see the person to ensure that he or she is calm. Then, the person will be buzzed in again. Dr. Campbell said that this double buzzer system is already in place at Moreland Hills Elementary School, Brady Middle School and the Pepper Pike Learning Center.

Second, Dr. Campbell said that visitors should be directed immediately to the guidance offices. The way the entrance is set up now, visitors can walk directly into the main hallways of the high school. With the proposed changes, he said that guests would come into the offices, separating them from the students and most of the faculty and staff.

One of the designs is more “grandiose,” Dr. Campbell said, and meets the height of the original building. The other design is shorter and fits in with the existing appearance of the school. Dr. Campbell explained that the two sets of double doors will still be used during busy times of the day, such as when school starts and ends or when there is an athletic event. There would be a separate entrance for daily appointments, such as parents meeting with teachers or dropping off lunch.

“That [entrance] will be the more controlled flow of parents or visitors,” he said.

In addition, he said that proper landscaping, walkways and signage will be important to the new entrance. Board member Deborah Kamat asked if one design was safer than the other, and Dr. Campbell said that both are safe.

Mrs. Wilson-Fish also asked if it is safe to have a wall of windows at the front entrance. She said that parents have asked about that at Brady Middle School. Director of Business Operations Ted Roseberry said that the windows are safe because it allows the staff to see outside of the building.

Mr. Roseberry said that Higley is working on detailing a cost estimate for the projects.

Julie Hullett has been a reporter for the Chagrin Valley Times since August of 2018 and covers Gates Mills, Hunting Valley, Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike and Woodmere. She graduated from John Carroll University with a journalism degree in 2018.

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