Newspaper Archive of
Walsh County Press
Park River , North Dakota
August 27, 2014     Walsh County Press
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August 27, 2014

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ALSH Above: Andrew Cashin from the ND Highway Patrol (Left) and Jim Kosmatka from the Walsh Coun- ty Sheriff's Department secure the "shooter" in the hallways of Park River Area High School. Blanks were used in the active shooter exercise held last Tues- day, but the smoke was real. By Allison Olimb of The Press PARK RIVER, N.D. --As school doors open for the fall, par- ents put the safety of their children in the hands of teachers and ad- ministration. The last thing anyone involved in a school system wants to think of is an active shooter sit- uation, but on Tuesday, Aug. 19, that active shooter training exercise is exactly what took place at Park River Area School. In a Critical Incident Scenario put into play by Wenck Associates, an emergency preparedness consulting and engineering firm based out of Mandan, teachers and administra- tors were taught how to act in an ac- tive shooter scenario and law en- forcement and first responders were put on the scene to assess the situ- ation. Only a handful of students were on scene to serve in an acting capacity as "victims" of the shoot- er. Following a briefing, the staff was inslructed to go about their busi- ness as if it were a normal school moming. Some teachers nervously fiddled with their keys, trying to lock the doors to their classrooms. Walsh County Emergency Man- ager Brent Nelson explained that more and more schools are going to a standard of having locked doors during the school day as a safety precaution. Not long after the teachers had taken their places, the announce- ment was made that the school was in lockdown. A masked man in a hooded sweatshirt emerged from the men's room near the high school gym. He started tearing down the hallways with purpose. "Where are you, Kitty?" he shouted as he tried kicking in each door as if searching for a girl- friend. Each shot echoed through the Shooter Exercise Cont page 8 Park River Area School to discuss construction concept with community By Allison Olimb of The Press PARK RIVER, N.D. -- At Park River Area School's regular board meeting held on Monday, Aug. 19, the topics of discussion included pending plans for facility improvements and additions. FJJ Solutions, the company who did acomprehensive assessment of the school building including staff, student, and stakeholder interviews, presented another plan to the board. At the initial FJJ Solutions presentation in July the board expressed their concern about rushing into the construction phase without getting it right. Park River Area Superintendant Kirk Ham said that this time the board was able to narrow their focus and "we've put some dollars to it." No board action was taken regarding the future of the school building, but Ham said they would be hold- ing a public meeting at 7 p.m. on Sept. 11 in the PRA Alumni Room to present the findings of the compre- hensive study and try to get some feedback from the public. With the addition of the financial pieces to the puz- zle, Ham said that it would help to prioritize the plan. The main parts of the plan are to renovate the low- er lever, converting the current classrooms to larger sizes; renovate the elementary gym to classrooms; add a main entrance, gym and administrative offices to the west part of the school; renovate the elementary en- trance to go from four entry points to two; and add a secure public entry to the library. Additional funding has been budgeted in this plan for reroofing the gym and the 2000 addition as well as mechanical and elec- trical concerns. Ham said that items such as sprinklers, fire alarm updates, and heating and cooling are all items up for discussion. The plan would address the top two concerns ad- dressed in the study done by FJJ Solutions -- securi- ty and space in the elementary. "We'll see what the reaction is on the 1 lth," Ham said. Memorial 5K to hit Minto See page 2 lee  Awayin Irkled See page 6 "The schools ain't what they us l to be and never was" Will rs The0000c00ordeb00 See page 2 In --, of See page 12