Getting into school buildings in Bryan County could soon be more difficult as officials look at tightening security at each of the system’s schools.
At a workshop at the Richmond Hill Pre-K Center last week, members of the Bryan County Board of Education discussed adding security measures ranging from stronger glass and key cards to limiting access to front entry ways.
They are expected to get an estimate for the cost to outfit each school with access control systems at Thursday night’s regular BoE meeting at Bryan County Middle School.
It won’t be cheap. Pope Construction’s Bill Vickery, who works for the BoE as construction manager, told the board it will cost about $20,000 for Richmond Hill Pre-K alone. Adding Lanier Primary and Richmond Hill Primary to the list would run the board about $42,000. Adding the elementary schools would bring the cost up to about $72,000.
Vickery said he visited the county’s primary and elementary schools because “we’re trying to do everything we can as a contractor within the school system to keep people out who shouldn’t be there.”
The notion is basically to limit access to one door at each school during school hours with the school receptionist controlling the lock from indoors. Vickery said doors could be opened from the inside in case of emergencies.
Vickery also told the BoE that employee access could also be regulated through key cards that would show when employees entered school through software “integrated into a computer time clock system,” he said.
Initially, the BoE got estimates for beefing up access control at the primary and elementary schools because there’s a six-week waiting list for doors that go with such systems and there was a need to get the ball rolling, according to school administrators. But rather than do the work piecemeal, school board members were quick to point out all schools should be treated equally.
“One school needs to be just as safe as another school,” said BoE member Dennis Seger, and member Amy Murphy agreed.
“I think parents would think this would be at the top of the list,” she said.
BoE chairman Eddie Warren concurred, though he warned against spending from the system’s capital improvements fund, which is meant for new elementary schools on both ends of Bryan County.