The Park City School District welcomes a new member to the Chief Operations Officer position on their executive administrative team. The job description includes responsibility for buildings and grounds, security, transportation and food services.
KPCW has the overview of specific security projects completed this summer and the security priorities for the coming school year.
The Park City School District underwent a structural reorganization which created a new role of Chief Operations Officer. Mike Tanner started earlier this spring but is now officially moved in and he continues to work on high priority projects like security at all the district schools. Summer projects included getting vestibules built to completion and entry protocols in place at all four elementary schools. He says the school board puts student safety first and acknowledges that it will take some adjustment from those who visit the schools.
“We have our entrances set up so that people can get in out of the weather, walk into a secured vestibule which has some security enhancements in place. But they have to check in at the front desk and when they check in at the front desk, they have to present an ID. And that ID is run against a national data base to make sure that person should be going into this school. And, then they’re issued an ID to walk into the school after they’re checked out.”
Ecker Hill Middle School uses a similar system as the elementary schools. However, it’s more complicated when trying to put in place security at Treasure Mountain Junior High and the High School. Both schools are open campuses with students going back and forth every period. Students tend to prop open doors for convenience.
“It clearly is a security vulnerability. But, it’s also one of the nice things in Park City that we have that open campus. So how do we strike that balance? What is the community’s appetite for that? But I don’t think anybody wants to go to that level if we don’t have to. How do we minimize the risk but maximize access to the schools? And that’s the balance that we have to figure out how to strike.”
Tanner says they plan to have security protocols for Treasure and the High School in place by next school year at the latest.
“So, with our security committee we’ve put together, of course, some students, some key players within the district. The police and fire department, Summit County Emergency Management. And all those folks are going to look at that vulnerability and how can we get smart about balancing that access with security. And that’s one of the charges we’ll be tackling this year.”
Tanner says they are looking at many aspects of minimizing risk for students and faculty. They’ll use national best practices along with engaging emergency management resources in Summit County.
“We’re going to look at everything from communications to access to the buildings to what kind of physical barriers we need to put in place. Unfortunately, in today’s world we have to be prepared for anything. We have things like vehicular ramming’s that we have to worry about now that we didn’t have to in the past. And how do you adjust your children’s presence to minimize that risk. How do we engage an active shooter that’s in the school? What kind of protocol is best practices for our students and our faculty to stay safe? We’re going to review that."
Tanner started working with the school district in April and this month he and his family moved to Park City where his daughter attends Jeremy Ranch Elementary School. He has a varied background that includes natural resources management in southern Utah and military and commercial aviation. He earned a degree in public finance and started working in public schools 15-years ago. He says he is happy to be back in Utah.