Officials from Norwood Public Schools are making school security a priority, and taking the campus into the 21stcentury using technology.
Recently, the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management announced the award of more than $29 million in grant funding to 95 Colorado education providers under the School Security Disbursement grant program. Norwood Public Schools was one of the recipients, and it will now get $54,800 that will be used to improve building security.
According to Superintendent David Crews, the funds will primarily be used to implement an electronic card reader system on all entry doors to control access to school facilities. Teachers will likely need their ID cards for entrance. Officials are not sure about students yet.
“The system will allow us to assign access rights on a door by door basis so that only authorized personnel can gain access to our buildings,” he said. “The system will give us greater visibility into who is coming in and out of our facilities, and at what time of day.”
Ken Lawrence, the school’s director of technology and security, submitted the grant application. He said the funds are important and help update the campus.
He said that the school implemented an electronic lock and camera system last year at the main entrance of both the secondary building and the elementary buildings. Now, Phase 2, he said, will build upon the existing system by adding the electronic locks and card readers on most of the rest of the school’s exterior doors.
“The grant funds will be used to implement Phase 2 of our physical security plan,” Lawrence said. “The goal in securing our campus is the safety of our students and staff. Going to an electronic lock system will give us the ability to limit access to our facilities to authorized personnel. If a card is lost or not returned, it can easily be disabled.”
Lawrence said he agreed the security upgrades were “proactive.” He said the school has not experienced any type of threat, and officials want to keep it that way.
He said the improvements to implement the technology will begin in June, when school is out for the summer. No company has been selected to do the work yet. He said now that the school has the grant funding amount, a final request for proposals will be released to the public. The school will go through the bid process to hire a contractor.
The School Security Disbursement grant program was enacted by Senate Bill 18-269, which provides funding to improve security in public school facilities and vehicles, and to support training for school personnel. Three hundred and five projects were submitted for the recent grant cycle, and 95 state districts were selected to receive funding.
Norwood Marshal Mike Wilkerson said he applauded the school’s security efforts.
“I believe the school is doing a fantastic job on keeping our students and staff safe at the school,” he said. “And it will help to make law enforcement’s job more efficient.”