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School board awards security system contract

July 01, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Security will be tighter at the Washington County Board of Education's central office and the 22 schools with portable classrooms, under a proposal adopted by the board on Tuesday.

The board awarded a $133,460 contract to Atlantic Security Systems of Hagerstown for installation and equipment for an access key card system at the 23 locations, Paul Rudolph, the school system's safety security specialist and risk manager, said.

The equipment is not being installed at all 45 schools in the system but the goal is to have security camera systems at all schools within five years, Rudolph said.

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The school system has security cameras in all of its middle and high schools but only two of the 25 elementary schools have security cameras, Rudolph said.

Tuesday's proposal addresses potential security problems at the central office and at schools with portable classrooms because those were seen as facilities in need of security improvements, Rudolph said.

Access cards would be required for students and employees to enter the main school building through a door closest to the portables, he said.

While each class in a portable would have at least one access card, the exact logistics on how the classes would distribute the card has not been determined, Rudolph said.

While the security at all schools is regularly evaluated, additional security measures are needed beyond the cameras and the doors by the portables, he said. With this change all doors except the main entrance will be locked at the schools, he said.

Washington County Board of Education President Edward Forrest said other school systems' central offices have more security and fewer potential problems than Washington County's.

The problem, Forrest and Rudolph said, is that the central office has about 18 entrances. Under the contract, all entrances except the main one will be locked and accessible only with access cards, Rudolph said.

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