High school students saving Clark County schools money on safety plans

Springfield Clark Career Technology Center students will save local districts thousands of dollars by completing state-required emergency maps of school buildings.

The maps ensure emergency first responders have up-to-date maps of every school in the state and are required by June as part of Attorney General Mike DeWine’s Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway.

The CTC had its computer aided drafting and design class students assist in making the maps for its building.

“The maps have everything that first responders would need to know about a building,” said Jason Chilman, who’s headed the mapping project for the CTC.

When Clark County Emergency Management Agency leaders saw the maps the CTC students created, Chilman said they asked them who had done them.

That started the idea for the students to offer their skills to other schools in the county, Chilman said.

“They’re taking everything they’ve learned already and applying it to the real world,” computer drafting teacher Eric Barge said.

Seniors Eli Tuttle and Cienna Johnson have worked or will work with every public high school in the county, excluding the Springfield City School District, which already had completed their maps, to lay out emergency maps of each building.

The maps include keys that identify important structural points, such as water and gas shut offs to the buildings, Barge said.

“Sometimes it’s hard with schools that we haven’t been to before,” Johnson said.

But work they thought would take days has ended up taking just about an hour, Tuttle said, because of collaboration with local sources of information, such as blue prints of buildings from the Clark County Auditor’s Office.

“It’s a lot of teamwork,” Tuttle said.

The plans are professional-quality, Barge said, and are indistinguishable from the same maps real architectural firms would make if the schools hired them to do the job.

The student work is also saving local districts thousands of dollars since they don’t have to contract the work.

“We’ve gotten really good feedback of their work from the schools,” said Rick Smith, superintendent of the CTC.

Contract work for the job could range anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000, Barge said.

Both seniors plan on graduating this year and continuing the engineering education they began at the CTC. Tuttle plans on attending Wright State University, majoring in mechanical engineering, he said. Johnson plans to study mechanical engineering with the hopes of ultimately landing in the aerospace engineer field, she said.

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