Oct. 18, 2013
By Tara Cavanaugh
At a recent Board of Education study session, district administrators explained the costs and benefits of installing security monitors and locking all exterior doors to buildings in an effort to increase security.
The board is expected to make a decision about the monitors this fall. In the meantime, safety and security improvements are already in place that were paid for by the sinking fund.
All buildings have a card access system that was installed last year. Teachers and staff members have key cards that are programmed specifically for their building. The card reading devices can also track entrances by individual cardholders. (The cards themselves are not eligible to be covered by the sinking fund.)
This summer, rusted exterior doors were replaced at Forsythe, Clague, Wines, King, Scarlett, Tappan, Mitchell and Abbot. The replacement doors are made of fiberglass reinforced panels, so they won’t rust and corrode.
“A stronger door is a safer door,” said Tim Gruszczynski, the district’s executive director of physical properties. All buildings will get the new exterior doors by the end of this year.
Also this summer, the Pattengill front office was reconfigured due to security concerns. The new design allows seated office personnel to view every person who enters the building. The previous design had personnel seated so that their backs were to the front door.
“When I first started working here, I complained about that,” said Tracy Bond, who’s been the secretary at Pattengill for seven years. “How am I supposed to know who’s coming in the door if I can’t even see the door?”
The office has a space for a teacher clerk; that space is positioned toward the office window and front door. “But they’ve cut a lot of the teacher clerk hours now, so there’s not really a clerk here all that often. I’m the one who’s always here,” Bond said.
“I like the office now because I can see who’s coming in. I’d rather see what’s going on out there. And it’s more open and welcoming. There’s more space for people who walk in.”
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