Playgrounds, security, wi-fi are in schools’ improvement plans

Surveillance cameras, interior locks and security film on entry doors — those are just the school security items on a list of 10 capital items that would, if approved, cost the district $1,232,000 for the 2014-2015 school year.

The Board of Education reviewed the projects at its meeting on Nov. 12. Projects also included:

  • the relocation of the district’s network operation center,
  • the improvement of the wells at Farmingville and Branchville,
  • a technology “fit-up” in the libraries of both middle schools,
  • voltage protection devices,
  • universal access playgrounds,
  • asbestos abatement at Scotland,
  • the implementation of the wireless network for all six elementary schools.

Joe Morits, the district’s facilities manager, and Craig Tunks, the director of technology and operations development, presented the 2014-2015 five-year capital plan that “identifies, evaluates and advocates the current and long-range needs associated with the improvement, replacement or upgrade of district assets.”

The five-year plan, that spans fiscal years 2014 through 2019, includes 33 items, ranging from security vestibules at all nine of the district’s schools to the replacement of six high-volume electric water heaters, which are both budgeted in the second year of the proposed capital improvement plan.

At the meeting on Nov. 12, Mr. Morits and Mr. Tunks focused on the 10   projects for 2014-2015.

The cameras would cost around $78,000, part of the effort to increase school security by adding another layer of surveillance — recorded and real-time — for the interior of all schools. In all, 65 cameras would be used across the nine schools.

The high school would have 12 cameras, but East Ridge Middle School will actually have more with 14. Scotts Ridge would have five, along with Veterans Park, Farmingville, Branchville and Scotland.

Ridgebury and Barlow Mountain would have six each.

The alternative high school would have two.

Security locks, which cost around $100,000 in its second of three phases, have been successfully implemented into all classrooms in the district, but  the district hopes to have locks installed in all student-centric spaces.

In year three, 2015-2016, the district would add security locks to the remaining common spaces and maintenance equipment rooms.

The hardening of all first-floor glass windows and entry doors, which costs around $255,025 total, will be the final security project coming out of the 2014-2015 budget.

The project will require the installation of 10-mil thick blast resistant grade or fragment retention safety film on all glass entry doors.

Besides security, the most expensive project is the relocation of the network operations center from its current location at the high school to Scotts Ridge’s media equipment room.

The transition would cost an estimated $265,000.

“We have managed to maximize the capacity of the room at RHS so we are moving somewhere where more space is available and that is a more stable environment,” Mr. Tunks said.

The technology changes that will take place in the libraries at East Ridge and Scotts Ridge will use the same “learning commons model” implemented this past summer to improve the high school’s media center.

“There will be more collaborative space for the students and the library in general will be more open, so librarians can move around on the floor,” Mr. Morits said. “It’s a dynamic place that encourages learning through inquiry, collaboration, discussion, and consultation.”

The estimated cost for this project is $75,000.

The universal access playgrounds, which would cost $130,000, will mirror the model used at Scotland Elementary School and would be applied to the remaining five elementary schools.

The project requires the district to purchase ADA-designed playground equipment, prepare the sites for installation and then install the equipment along with a “soft-surface fall zone.”

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