Iron fences will go up at 3 Newport-Mesa elementary schools to help boost security


Black rod iron fences are scheduled to replace chain-link fences at three Newport-Mesa Unified elementary schools this summer to help control visitor access and enhance security.

During community meetings last week, district Director of Facilities Development Ara Zareczny showed preliminary plans to install the new fencing and refurbish administrative offices at Wilson, Mariners and Newport Heights elementary schools.

The new enclosures will be installed in the front of each campus and access to all classroom buildings will be behind the security fence, Zareczny said.

In December, the district approved a $244,040 agreement for Irvine-based Studio + Architecture to design plans for the security fencing and office renovations at the three schools.

Administration reception areas will be moved to the front of each campus, and will receive air conditioning.

At Wilson in Costa Mesa, a fence will separate two doors, Zareczny said. One door will lead to the front office, the other onto campus.

At Mariners and Newport Heights, both in Newport Beach, the administration reception room will be moved closer to the parking lot.

Zareczny said the district is “pushing hard” to get the new fencing and renovations out to bid in time to get the work done over the summer.

Fencing projects also were completed in recent years at Adams, Andersen, Victoria and Eastbluff elementary schools.

Zareczny said district staff also is looking to create a new parking and drop-off procedure at Newport Heights following the death of third-grader Brock McCann, who was struck and killed by a trash truck as he rode his bike home from school along 15th Street in Newport Beach on May 25, 2016.

City officials were invited to be part of the process but asked district staff to hold off as they develop their own study, which should be completed in February, Zareczny said. In order to allow city input, procedural changes may be pushed to 2019.

Some parking improvements for disabled access may be required at all schools as instructed by the Division of the State Architect.

Air conditioning is guaranteed to be completed at Wilson this summer for all permanent classrooms and the administration building, she said. Wilson was scheduled to receive air conditioning last year, but a redesign pushed back the project.

Mariners and Newport Heights are expected to get air conditioning by summer 2019, Zareczny said.

She said students may hear noise from the new air conditioning units installed outside the buildings, but she said it will become “white noise” once they get used to it.

Twitter: @vegapriscella