NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – Classroom doors that can be locked from inside the classroom and keycards for outside doors are among the security improvements proposed for Northbridge public schools in fiscal year 2014.
Paul Halacy, building and grounds director for the Northbridge School District, brought a five-year capital projects plan before the School Committee at a meeting Tuesday night.
“In light of the tragedy in Connecticut, we’re looking to improve the security of our students and staff,’’ he said. Twenty students and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14 by a gunman who forced his way into classrooms and opened fire.
“Safe room locks on every door would allow teachers to lock the door without going into the hallway,’’ Halacy said. The cost for safe locks in all classrooms at all four schools would about $110,000.
Keycards would eliminate the need to have an unlocked door at each school in the morning for staff to enter, he said. That cost is $40,000.
An increase in the number of cameras for each school’s video surveillance system is also proposed, funded in 2014 and 2015 at a cost of $102,655.
Halacy said he’s suggested improving video surveillance in past years as a capital needs project.
He’s also suggested improved security at the administration building.
The total cost of the security improvements is $233,000.
Given the importance of the safety measures, School Committee member Michael Lebrasseur asked if the costs could be added to the school budget is the capital projects are not supported by other town boards.
Business manager Melissa Walker said warrant articles for the annual town meeting could be discussed.
Schools Superintendent Nancy Spitulnik said school administrators statewide have asked the education commission to consider school safety grants, but that has not yet been discussed.
Increased safety is “a work in process,’’ Halacy said, and involves safety committees at each school.