One of Portage Township Schools District goals is to provide a safe, secure and healthy learning environment. The safety committees at the building and the district level continue to be very active in the support of this goal.
Much of our work has been focused on the human element in this process by working on objectives in Awareness, Training, Accountability and Incentives.
The latest product of the district committee is the safety newsletter. The newsletter is put out quarterly and is available on the school website. To view the newsletter, go to the human resource page and select employee safety. While this work is critical to the success of any safety program, we cannot forget the physical environment in which we all learn and work.
Portage Township Schools was able to complete several critical projects this summer. The completion of these projects is not only an essential part of our maintenance program; it also has a direct impact on student, staff and visitor safety.
Parking lots and walking areas at 10 school buildings received asphalt recoating/resealing and restriping. This work not only replaced damaged asphalt and lengthened the life of existing asphalt, it also eliminated many safety hazards. The potholes and cracks are tripping hazards in the non-winter months and fill with ice in the winter creating slip hazards. “Slips, Trips and Falls” continue to be our most prevalent and costly cause in workers comp accidents. The new striping and marking in the parking lots make navigating easier and traffic flow much safer. Additionally, the asphalt track surface at Willowcreek Middle School was repaired, resealed and restriped, creating a safer running surface for our student athletes.
Lighting was added to the east entrance to the Portage High School campus. This aids in visibility for students entering and exiting the school during hours of darkness and for visitors attending events at the high school.
The plan to replace worn carpeting with tile continued at several schools this summer. Replacing worn carpet reduces the tripping hazard created by uneven carpet and bad seams.
Due to their age, there was a concern about the fire safety of our stage curtains at the high school. As a result, they were replaced this summer. While this was a very expensive project, it was certainly necessary to ensure the safety of students, staff and visitors.
Scheduled to go out for bid next month is work on the canopy at the transportation fuel facility. This work will repair the main support structure for the canopy and result in burying the roof drains. Currently, the roof drains directly onto the fuel island creating a significant slip hazard during winter. In addition to school vehicles, all municipal vehicles that use diesel fuel use this facility. Therefore, this will have significant impact on the safety of school corporation and city employees.
These projects are being completed in a time when we repeatedly hear about budget constraints and layoffs. It is a privilege to work for a district with a director of finance, superintendent and school board that all realize the importance of the physical plant and related safety issues, who continue to determine ways to allow the necessary work to get done.