A number of districtwide safety projects, including campus fencing, new doors and upgraded signal strength for emergency responder radios, are being planned in Pflugerville ISD, Chief Operating Officer Victor Valdez said.

Valdez provided the board of trustees with a rundown of the projects during the regular board meeting May 17.

A closer look

Valdez said some of the safety projects are state mandated, while others came about on the district level.

Work has started at the support services and administration building to replace all door handles and keys. These buildings will be used as “test sites” before work begins at the high school campuses this summer.

PfISD also received $704,668 as part of the Texas Education Agency’s 2024-25 Safety and Facilities Enhancement Grant. Projects in four key areas are being funded by the SAFE grant, including:
  • Exterior doors: Valdez said doors across several campuses are due for an upgrade. While many are not front-facing doors, the doors that lead into mechanical rooms, closets or kitchens still give building access.
  • Impact film: The resistant film will be used to secure front entry areas, vestibules and windows on every campus. Work is expected to begin this summer and take nine months to complete, and while it is not bulletproof, it “takes a significant amount of force and time to break it,” according to Valdez.
  • Bi-directional antennas: several campuses have varying levels of emergency responder radio deficiencies, Valdez said, and the antennas will boost the signal inside school buildings, as required by law.
  • Campus fencing: Connally High School and Northwest Elementary are “priority campuses” that will receive over 1 mile of 8-foot-tall nonscalable fencing around its campus perimeter, a need identified by the district’s safety, police and facilities teams. Connally’s outdoor fields sit next to a forested area, and a large walkway next to Northwest’s playground area also exposes students.
Valdez said a motorized gate will be added on the north end of Connally to help control the flow of traffic on the road that goes through the campus, between the football and baseball fields and up to Howard Lane, as a new apartment complex is being built next to this road.

“Our concern from a safety perspective is, as vehicles try to exit the apartment complex and get some frustration with backup getting onto Howard Lane or maybe even Lamar [Boulevard], we do not want our parking lot turning into a thoroughfare for vehicles trying to get out a different way,” Valdez said.

The gate will be accessible for buses through a district-issued radio frequency identification tag. Valdez added that another motorized gate at the south end of the campus in the staff parking lot will eventually be installed.

Also of note

An item on the unanimously approved consent agenda approved the purchase of first responder radio repeaters for the district, which are used by first responders during emergencies to compensate for signal loss or other coverage gaps.

The board also approved the districtwide exterior door replacements and the Connally and Northwest fencing projects for $650,000 and $1.1 million, respectively, which will be funded by the SAFE Grant and 2022 bond.