In addition to adding a $160.5 million bond proposal to the May ballot, the Tyler ISD school board also heard safety and security recommendations at Thursday night's meeting - and those recommendations included one very big change to a Tyler high school.
This fall, the perimeter of Robert E. Lee High School will look very different.
Thursday night, the TISD board approved a $320,060 contract with RPR General Contractors, Inc. to fence in the campus.
Along the Loop and at school entrances, the fence will look much like the one built around John Tyler High School in 2010 - wrought iron with brick columns. But along Donnybrook Avenue, the fence will just be wrought iron, and a chain link fence will enclose the southern and western perimeters of the campus.
"It's important because there are areas at this campus that are just wide open, such as the south end, all along the east side of the parking lot, anybody can walk into the campus," said Tim Loper, Tyler ISD's Director of Facility Services.
School officials say the purpose of having a fence at both high schools is two-fold: to serve as a barrier to keep out people who don't need to be there, while keeping students from crossing traffic on Loop 323 where they don't need to cross.
"We'll have a pedestrian gate there (at Robert E. Lee) and a sidewalk where kids can use that crosswalk at that light where they should," said Loper.
The board also heard from district administration Thursday night on safety, security and discipline measures - including the fact that discipline referrals have dropped across all grade levels over the last three school years.
"Discipline incidents have declined," said Dawn Parnell, Tyler ISD's Director of Communications. "We did talk about certain things that are intact to make sure that discipline is taking place at the campus, such as doing administrative sweeps, closely monitoring students that we make sure they're engaged in the classroom."
And district officials see this new fence as yet another way to help students learn.
"The main thing is to keep the kids safe and to keep the traffic flowing as best we can," Loper said.
District officials plan to move the public entrance at Robert E. Lee High School to the south end of campus along Donnybrook to help traffic flow on the Loop during drop-off and pick-up times.
Officials plan for construction on the fence to start immediately after school ends in June. It's expected to last through the summer.
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