GENOA – The revamped security at the entrances of schools in Genoa-Kingston School District 424 will do more than help protect students from intruders.
The secured entrances at all five schools will help cut down on foot traffic and make it easier for visitors to speak with the staff or pass along items without having to walk into the school, said Jim Slater, district maintenance director.
“There’s 100 different situations this will assist our district, securitywise,” said Joe Burgess, the district’s superintendent.
Since the end of the past school year, district officials have been working with local contractors to build additional security features for their schools. About $125,000 has been budgeted for the project, which is planned for completion the first week of August, Burgess said. The first day of school is Aug. 14.
Entrances at Davenport Elementary School, Kingston Elementary School, Genoa Elementary School, Genoa-Kingston Middle School and Genoa-Kingston High School are being improved. New features will include a sliding window for visitors to speak with the staff or students. There will also be an extra barrier with reinforced glass, Burgess said.
The shootings Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., provided some of the impetus for a comprehensive review of security measures and the way visitors access the school buildings, Burgess said.
With the security system before, access doors were locked at all times, but people who visited were able to mingle with the students, Slater said. There was a camera for people to identify themselves and an intercom to buzz them into the building, he said. Now visitors can speak with school staff or deliver items to students such as homework or lunch without having to walk into the school.
“That’s a huge deal right there,” Slater said.
When reviewing its security measures, the district worked with local police and first responders. It also conducted online surveys with parents and interviewed secretaries to get feedback on the best way to design the new secured entrances, Burgess said.
Slater said he was impressed with the way the new entrances were coming together. Parents and students will be able to see how much work went into creating them, he said.
“We just want to show the community we were driving something,” Slater said.