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Monday, May 2, 2016

CCS examines cost of security

Thursday, December 6, 2007

By completing a survey and asking for advice from local law enforcement, the Clay Community Schools have come up with several ways to improve security at the corporation's facilities.

Now the question is how much will these improvements cost, and where will the money come from?

According to former Clay County Sheriff Chief Deputy Doug Barr, if the corporation were to employ off-duty officers at a part-time pay rate of $15 per hour, one security officer would cost the corporation around $18,000 per school year.

Barr said it is common for officers to be hired by school corporations for off-duty patrolling of the schools.

Deputy James Switzer said an optimal situation would be to have three officers assigned to Clay Community Schools.

School office visibility is a big problem when schools are trying to control access to the buildings.

To solve this problem, security vestibules are part of the proposed renovation project.

A basic vestibule consists of an intercom, video camera and locking doors controlled from the office. Visitors must either be recognized by the office or be able to explain their visit to the school before being "buzzed in" to the building.

Shawn Gobert, Greencastle Middle School Principal and Greencastle Corporation School Safety Specialist, has received bids on vestibules and other security equipment for the high school. Gobert said a basic vestibule costs around $3,000.

The camera in the basic vestibule does not record who comes in and out of the building, and adding the recording equipment can make a vestibule even more expensive.

Gobert said Greencastle School Corporation spent several hundreds of thousands of dollars putting in security cameras last year, and is looking to put in electronic door monitors that would set off an alarm when propped open that would cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Kieth Puckett, the principal at South Putnam High School and the former corporation School Safety Specialist, said South Putnam has a proximity reader to help control access to buildings.

All doors are always locked and, instead of keys, all staff carry cards that will open the door when placed near the reader.

The school has saved money with the card system, Puckett said, because when a card is lost, it is deactivated and a replacement card is issued.

Locks had to be changed when keys were lost previously.

Puckett said the high school and two of the three elementary schools in the corporation have cameras at their entries, and the office can let visitors in who are recognized.

"Access control is not a cure-all," Gobert said. "It's one more piece to the puzzle."

Technology is not the only cost associated with maintaining the security of the buildings.

Tom Reberger, the Clay Community School Corporation's Director of Buildings and Grounds, has replaced locks, repaired windows and started to work on all of the issues brought forward on the Safe School surveys.

According to Reberger, replacing old locks with working locks costs $200-$300 per door. To bring buildings up to regulations, Reberger replaces the old door fixtures with ADA compliant latches and locks.

The cost of replacing a door, as well as keeping it fire-rated, is around $1,200 once the frame and related hardware is factored in.

Recently, windows have been installed in the doors of school office doors. In order to meet fire code, the window can only be four inches wide by 25 inches long. Installing a window in a door costs around $150.

These repairs, for all 10 of the school buildings, the LEAAP center, the Cumberland Academy, the bus depot and the corporation central office, are taken out of the Capital Projects Fund.

After insurance and utilities for the corporation are paid, Reberger has $500,000 to work with every year to make these repairs, along with the everyday maintenance.

Through the current proposed renovation project, enough money would be budgeted for each building to have a security vestibule, along with the means to completely replace doors, windows and other faulty hardware.

Previously, building projects have been funded through loans from the Department of Education called Common School Loan Funds.

Through the Common School Loans, the state will advance loans to a school corporation if it raises an amount equal to two percent of the adjusted assessed valuation of the taxable property in the corporation.

Specific grants can also be found for school safety and security improvements.

Websites like www.FastWEB.com provide opportunities to apply for scholarships and grants for all kinds of educational purposes. There are also grants through the Department of Education and law enforcement agencies to help corporations pay for security officers.

Currently the school board is looking into creating a position in the corporation that would be the designated School Safety Specialist as well as the grant-writer for the corporation.

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If the school is locked,and there is only one way to access,through the office, what if there is trouble inside? Guns brought to school and such. Is there a back up to where somebody can get into the school if need be?

I hate thinking that way, but last year Northview had a scare, where they thought students might have brought guns into the school.

-- Posted by loulou on Fri, Dec 7, 2007, at 8:04 AM

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