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The City Journals

$3 Million Dollar Remodel to Make School Safer for Kids

Oct 08, 2015 12:50PM ● By Bryan Scott

By Margaret Spencer

West Jordan - Joel P. Jensen Middle School went through some drastic changes over the summer of 2015, for better security and safety reasons. Having been built in 1984, the building was no longer up to code and lacked convenience items like air conditioning. 

This had become a safety issue, since the outside doors were being propped open to allow for air flow. “Even with the doors propped, the temperature would remain above eighty degrees on hot days,” Principal Bryan Leggat said.   

Two lucky schools, Joel P. Jensen and Oquirrh Hills Middle, were granted a nearly $3 million remodel over the summer. These were two of the largest grants given by the Jordan School District.

Taking a six-month job and turning it into a three-month job, JPJMS was able to open for fall with a new layout and better security system. As students enter the building through the front door, there are now double doors for them to go through. 

The inner set of doors is locked up as soon as school starts, as are all of the side doors. The only doors left unlocked now are the first set of doors in the front of the building and the single side door leading into the office that is located between the two double doors. 

Part of the remodel was to bring their main office, which had been located in the middle of the school, to the front. Now visitors and tardy students are rerouted directly into the main office through the side door. This helps the office monitor know who is arriving and leaving, and guests are actually checking into the office now.

The office of the school resource officer, Detective Tory Leary, also used to be farther into the school and now it is just a few steps from the new front office.  When asked about the remodel, he was very positive about it.

“I like the way it’s inviting and friendly but also more secure,” Detective Leary said. He mentioned that it was easier to control the traffic in and out of the school with the set up they have now.

The budget of the remodel allowed them to upgrade their security camera system so that they can better monitor the hallways, cafeteria, gymnasium and school grounds, 24/7. They also had blinds installed on all the windows to help with lighting, and if ever there was a lock down, they could close up the windows.

Another added bonus of this remodel was air-conditioning. No longer do students have to toil away under the heat with the safety issue of doors propped open.