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Letter: Safety is top priority at Argyle ISD work site

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Eric Fields, Argyle ISD Board  President
Eric Fields, Argyle ISD Board President

Dear Argyle ISD neighbors, I am writing to you with regards to the tragic accidents of the recent weeks. You may have heard of the on-site deaths of two adult men who were working on the new indoor activity center. Argyle ISD has never faced a tragedy such as this, and I want to let you know that we are taking multiple steps to review and implement measures for the safety of your children and the teachers and staff across the District’s buildings and campuses.

As the School Board President, I speak for the entire Argyle ISD family in saying that we share the sadness felt by the community for the loss of these two young men. We are committed to working closely with our current construction contractors to promote safety throughout the entire school district. We know that every day you trust us with your most valuable asset – your children – and their safety and the safety of our teachers and staff are our top priorities.

Following the accidents, we called an emergency School Board meeting at which the Trustees ordered a third-party safety audit and accepted a voluntary stand-down of all construction and renovation projects from Northstar Builders Group. The suspension of work has given Argyle ISD the time to work with a safety expert and review Northstar’s safety procedures. Our goal has also been to review and monitor the established standards of safety and quality for contractors working in the district.

As a result of the safety review, Northstar Builders Group is implementing several enhanced protective measures. The Board understands these safety provisions include warning signs on fence perimeters, enhanced fencing and gates, and cleanup of construction materials and debris. Northstar confirmed they will coordinate any and all vertical steel erections plans and work with Argyle ISD’s safety consultant, in addition to a second safety consultant they hired. They also plan to have a representative of the fabricator on site during erection of the indoor activity center; these are safeguards that our safety consultant confirms exceed standard safety guidelines.

After reviewing the safety audit and the additional safety provisions, and with the recommendation of our safety consultant, we believe it is appropriate to accept Northstar Builders Group’s proposal that construction work resume. Your School Board and Argyle ISD staff will vigilantly monitor reports from our safety expert, who will regularly review work on the various construction sites through completion.

Our goal as a district is to create and maintain an environment that avoids preventable accidents whether on a construction site with an outside contractor or in the classroom with students and teachers. Though accepting the voluntary suspension of work and conducting the safety review temporarily delayed several projects approved by the 2014 bond referendum, we believe these were essential steps to ensure we meet the needs of our students and staff on our campuses.

We are proud to be a part of this wonderful community who has rallied around the families of the men who died at the construction site. Thank you for the support you have shown for their families and the school district.

Educating your children is our honor and privilege, and we value the support you have shown the District. We continue to focus on keeping Argyle ISD one of the premier school districts in the State of Texas. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at 940-464-7241.

Eric Fields
Argyle ISD Board President
Argyle, TX

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