Board looks at improving security for schools
By Josh O’Gorman
staff writer | February 16,2013
Officials are looking to improve security in Rutland City schools.
By a unanimous vote, the School Board voted to allocate $60,500 to evaluate current security measures and provide a greater ability to respond to a crisis, when and if one arises.
John Rice, director of buildings and grounds for the district, said school officials have recently conducted lockdown drills in several schools with police involvement and observation.
“We’ve identified some weaknesses,” Rice said. The exact nature of those weaknesses was discussed during an executive session following the vote to approve the funds.
Currently, simply being able to communicate that an emergency exists is an issue in several schools in the city. The district will spend $28,000 to install two-way public-address systems in the Allen Street campus, and a P.A. system that integrates communication within the intermediate and middle schools. Work is expected to be completed this summer.
The district will also install P.A. systems in Northeast and Northwest elementary schools, which have telephone systems that allow communication between classrooms but not in corridors, restrooms, gymnasiums or playgrounds. This work is expected to cost $20,000.
Also in the safety-improvement pipeline is $7,500 to NBF Architects to evaluate how to best secure the buildings and control visitor entry. NBF previously designed the addition and renovations to Northwest School.
Last, the district will spend $5,000 to digitize the architectural drawings for the buildings.
“They can be used for first-responders, and also for estimating and surveying purposes,” Rice said.
Prior to the meeting, Lt. Kevin Geno of the Rutland City Police Department discussed the importance of first-responders having accurate floor plans.
“After the Sandy Hook incident, we’re hoping to have those plans available on the computers in all the police cruisers,” Geno said. “We’re also looking at radio frequency changes so we can be on the same channel as the schools.”
The district has $67,341 remaining in its contingency fund.