Indian Creek school designs earn praise for safety and ingenuity | News, Sports, Jobs | #schoolsaftey

MINGO JUNCTION — The designs of Indian Creek schools have earned praise for safety and ingenuity.

During Thursday’s regular school board session at Hills Elementary, officials lauded staff and administrators for preventing a possible security issue at Cross Creek Elementary and said the schematic of the building proved effective in the situation.

Indian Creek Education Association President Karen Lloyd said secretaries, teachers and administrators responded quickly when a potential intruder attempted to enter the building on Oct. 6. The facility was quickly locked down and law enforcement arrived within minutes to take the man into custody. Lloyd said everyone used their training and reacted correctly while the new building also enabled them to stay safe. Like the other district schools, the building is outfitted with a separate vestibule and locks to prevent access to the rest of the building.

“The teachers are very appreciative and stunned with the activities that happened at Cross Creek Elementary,” Lloyd added. “I have to commend the teachers. They did exactly what they were supposed to do. I wanted to let you know that we felt really supported. Thanks to you and our community, the building played a huge part and it worked flawlessly.”

She noted that a planned evacuation drill was set for next Friday as further preparation and also thanked everyone for passing levies to approve the construction of the Cross Creek building and Indian Creek High School and renovations at Hills.

Board President Bob Smith concurred and said preparation was key.

“Kudos to everybody involved. You don’t think it could happen here and it worked like clockwork.”

Superintendent T.C. Chappelear added that law enforcement response was quick and praised the construction of the school.

“The design of the building did what it was supposed to do and it kept the threat out,” he continued. “Hopefully that’s the last test to our security.”

Chappelear also thanked the secretaries, saying they did a good job and are on the front lines.

In related matters, Assistant Superintendent John Belt announced that the designs of the Cross Creek and high school buildings gained recognition with an award and the cover of a national publication.

“Cross Creek Elementary and the high school received design awards and the high school captured the cover of Learning By Design, a national magazine,” Belt said.

The schools received Outstanding Project Awards in the 2023 Learning By Design Awards of Excellence and the article about the high school highlighted the flexible English and language arts spaces that speak to all levels of education. The architectural team of SoL Harris/Day obtained the magazine recognition as well as a LEED Silver Award for the high school and elementary school for leadership in energy and environmental design this summer.

According to the magazine’s website, it publishes three times a year — in April, June and October — and is the premier source for education design and innovation excellence. It recognizes the nation’s top architectural firms by publishing outstanding pre-kindergarten to 12th grade and college/university projects. Belt said other recipients included the University of Tennessee, a community college in North Carolina and a school in Minnesota.

“It’s pretty neat that we’re getting national recognition and captured the cover of a national publication,” he said. “A superintendent in West Virginia has already reached out to us because (his district) is in the building process and he wants to tour our schools. I think the community’s appreciative to our design team and the wonderful facilities’ design.”

“We really appreciate the design work of SoL Harris/Day,” Chappelear added. “They collaborated with our community and came up with some great ideas to meet the needs of our students, staff and community. These buildings have that ‘wow’ factor when people visit for the first time. We couldn’t be happier with the way our partnership with SoL Harris/Day worked out.”

Meanwhile, plaques will be added at Cross Creek and ICHS commemorating the recognition.

Among other action:

• Lloyd said the elementary schools were in high gear with Step By Step Learning with training to enhance education; fire prevention week was marked with a visit by the Wintersville Voluinteer Fire Department; and the building will host a literacy night event in conjunction with Hills and ICMS on Nov. 15;

• Food Service Director Eric White invited officials to attend a Harvest Feast at the schools Nov. 14-16. The cafeterias will provide Thanksgiving meals to students during their lunch periods;

• Board Vice President Kim Mark applauded the volleyball team for their sectional tournament win against John Glenn High School. She also lauded athletes Reese Scott and Tori Robertson for respectively setting records for assists and kills. Chappelear recognized the girls’ soccer team for their sectional win against East Liverpool and cross country for going to their first sectional tourney;

• Chappelear said the Leader in Me program was also gaining momentum with participation in the schools. The initiative, which is provided by FranklinCovey Education of Salt Lake City, will unfold during the next four years and incorporate teachers and youth to drive involvement among students and staff, build a high-trust environment in schools and student achievement and improve learning.

• Leaders announced that ICHS Foreign Language students were planning a trip to Italy in June 2025;

• The district entered into an oil and gas lease agreement with Ascent Resources–Utica LLC for 0.27 acres in Cross Creek Township;

• Mark was appointed to a three-year term as district representative to the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School Board of Education for the term that runs Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2026;

• The board approved classified substitutes including secretaries/paraprofessionals Candace Heath and Kourtney Pfouts, cafeteria/secretary/bus attendant Lisa Scovronski, cafeteria/custodian Jeffery Stewart, bus driver Harry Yates and cafeteria worker Helen Yates; gave an extra-duty contract to Staci Copeland as ICMS yearbook adviser; volunteers Taylor Scott and Eddie Kostecki as junior high girls’ basketball and boys baseball strength coach, respectively; and a continuing contract for Stephanie Hunter as paraprofessional/START aide at Cross Creek Elementary.

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