As reported by InstantNewsKaty.com on Friday, January 28, 2011:
As part of its ongoing efforts to improve safety and security throughout the district, Katy ISD administrators have begun developing a safety and security plan to help establish uniform standards for large-scale events. The district said it expects the standards developed will serve as a model for K-12 districts throughout the state and the nation as they plan for large events as well.
As part of its Readiness and Emergency Management in Schools grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the district will develop protective measures and guidelines for large-scale events, with the assistance of the National Center for Spectator Sports and Safety from The University of Southern Mississippi.According to a statement issued by the district Friday afternoon, catastrophic events and elevated terrorist activity “serve as constant reminders to administrators and Katy ISD police that sporting and entertainment venues are vulnerable to disasters that can result in significant damage to property, personal injury and loss of life.”
District administrators have defined a large-scale event to be one that includes 500 or more spectators or visitors. District facilities that routinely host large number of people include the Merrell Center, which hosts a variety of sporting and public events year-round, as well as Rhoads Stadium, the home field for all Katy ISD high school football teams.
Dr. Walter Cooper, director for research and development at the National Center for Spectator Sports and Safety; Dr. David Corderman, senior partner at Academy Leadership Associates, LLC in Fredericksburg, VA; and Dr. Stacey Hall, associate director for the National Center for Spectator Sports and Safety and assistant professor of sport management at the University of Southern Mississippi, recently visited Katy ISD and met with district leaders to discuss ways of developing a program and uniform standards to improve safety and security at the district’s numerous large-scale events. During their visit, they met with several departments including athletics, fine arts, campus administrators, and the police department to gather data to help formulate new standards.
According to Dr. Cooper, “Katy ISD is comparable to a Division I University such as Ohio State University in terms of the number of facilities, the quality of facilities, and enrollment and its safety and security programs should be reflective of that.” The center will assist Katy ISD in several areas including training in identifying vulnerabilities and threats, improving physical protections systems, enhancing emergency response and recovery operations and building multi-agency and evacuation capabilities.
Katy ISD received $430,000 in funding by the REMS Grant administered by the U.S. Department of Education. The district applied for the grant last year and received the funds in August 2009, to improve safety and security at Katy ISD’s 52 campuses, private schools in the Katy area, and 15 support facilities, including athletic facilities. REMS grant awards are typically based on a district’s size. Like all federal grants, REMS money must be used for projects approved specifically in the grant application.
Projects designated in the grant application must be completed by the end of March 2011, according to John Bremer, Katy ISD emergency management coordinator.