New London School Board approves $25,000 bid
By Scott Bellile
The New London School District aims to start construction on a new security entrance at New London Intermediate/Middle School this spring.
The board of education approved a $24,985 project bid from Miron Construction on Jan. 25. Miron’s plan calls for removing some of the brick wall east of the entrance overhang to install a secure doorway. This would serve as the daytime entrance like the one constructed at the high school last summer.
Using the new intermediate/middle school entrance, a visitor would press a buzzer outside to ask an office worker to unlock the front door. Once allowed inside, the visitor would enter a room where the rest of the school is walled off. The visitor would pick up a wall phone and ask the office worker to unlock the main office so he or she could come in and register.
Miron’s $24,985 estimate excludes expenses such as startup assistance, electrical work and engineering. Joe Marquardt, the school district’s director of business services, said he expects the project cost to stay under $30,000.
The district also plans to install additional security cameras at the school. Marquardt said select district employees could view live footage at school or remotely using an Internet connection.
Board member Virginia Schlais asked Marquardt if there are next steps in the event an intruder gained entry into the office. Marquardt said the district could consider replacing the building’s key lock system with electronic locks that allow for instant locking school-wide in the event of an emergency.
“We’re going to be proactive,” Marquardt said. “We can’t make it bulletproof.”
No start date is set for construction. Marquardt expressed interest in starting and finishing it over spring break March 24-28, then using the final six weeks of school to test the entrance, but he said the true start date will depend on Miron’s schedule.
New London Intermediate/Middle School Principal Pete Schulz told the Press Star Monday, Feb. 1, that his staff is “fired up” about the upgrades. He said the walled in entrance room will better guide visitors.
Occasionally staff will find themselves chasing down visitors who they buzz in because the visitors innocently walk proceed into the hallways unaware they have to register at the office. This project should fix that, he said.
“It just gives us such a better handle on when people are coming and going,” Schulz said.
As part of New London’s $2 million referendum approved by voters in 2014, up to $400,000 will be allocated to upgrade security at New London schools between 2015 and 2018.