Work set to begin on school security update

Chad Frey
The Kansan
Police and school staff participate in a security exercise in Chisholm Middle School in 2017. The school system will be installing a new security system that will automate the notification of police of a gunshot in a school.

Installation of new equipment to enhance school security for buildings in Newton USD 373  is scheduled to begin June 14 at Chisholm Middle School and Slate Creek Elementary School.

Te project, funded primarily by a Department of Justice grant, will continue in the following order throughout the summer months: Santa Fe, Newton High School, Cooper, Northridge, South Breeze, Walton, and Sunset

The system will feature vdeo cameras at entrances, electronic key cards, camers through out buildings and a system designed to detect gun shots. 

According to the system designers, the system will allow for notification of police of said gunshot quickly. 

When a shot is detected, a text can be sent to hundreds of people at once — and 911 notified automatically. That can pull minutes of the response time, as the average 911 call in a school shooter situation is made about two-anda-a-half minutes after the first gunshot. The system drops that notification down to four seconds. 

The system can also tell law enforcement exactly where the shot came from. 

"This is one of the newest technologies to be released, developed by the U.S. Department of Energy," said Bruce Montgomery, Honeywell. Honeywell is supllying the equipment to be installed by DH Pace of Wichita. "It does not listen for the bang of a gunshot. .. Everytime a gun is fired it creates an enerv signal. If you have ever been around a weapon you can feel it. These sensors only look for the energy created when [a gun] is fired."

For the funding of this system,  the school district submitted a fedearal grant application for $375,000 committing nearly $125,000 in matching funds. In September the district learned of being awarded the grant, the only school district in the state to receive the award.

As a result, the district will install electronic access control systems in all 12 school buildings. That will mean electronic access points that can be used by law enforcement, buzzer control systems for front doors, outdoor video cameras, intercom systems and computer control systems.

The cost of the electronic access control system is $245,952. The EAC system will be installed at 48 entry points at 12 school sites. The price tag includes all hardware, software, computer services, servers, labor and wire. The system includes an outside buzzer, intercom and cameras so front office staff can see who is requesting entry prior to building access.

All projects are scheduled to be completed before the start of school in the fall.