Schools get grants to boost security
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
Apr 15, 2014, 13:20
HOPEWELL — Security improvements are currently under way at Hopewell High School and Carter G. Woodson Middle School. Due in part to a $6 million school security equipment grant from the state, Hopewell City Public Schools received $61,567 to make needed upgrades at both schools.
At the high school, there will be additional security cameras installed throughout the building. At Carter G. Woodson, the funds will be used to replace an aging intercom system.
The intercom system at the middle school accounted for about 75 percent of the cost from the grant.
T. Patrick Barnes, supervisor of operations for Hopewell City Public Schools, said in an interview last year, that the intercom was not reaching all the classrooms in the building.
“The intercom system is to the point that not all the classrooms hear what’s being said, which is a safety concern in a time of need that a message needs to be put out,” Barnes said.
Though not sure of the exact age of the current intercom system, Barnes estimated it has been several years since it has been replaced, noting that during the renovations to the school years ago, it was not done due to lack of funds.
In order to accept the grant, the division had to match 25 percent of the funds for the grant, which came out to about $15,000. Though once receiving the available funding, through allocated funds and approval by City Council, work was able to begin on the security projects.
The high school will be receiving additional security cameras, as Barnes said in the interview that more coverage was needed.
“We did have some vandalism over the summer,” Barnes said, during which rocks were thrown through windows. “There were a couple occasions where we weren’t able to do anything about it because the coverage just wasn’t there.”
The superintendent of schools, Dr. John Fahey, said the security grant was much needed for the division as safety remains a top priority for the division.
“The school division is always looking for ways to improve. This particular grant is a great opportunity for Hopewell City Public Schools to secure funds. We are very thankful for this state grant that will help us to increase the security and safety at our schools,” Fahey said in a statement.
Classroom time will not be impacted during the installation on either project. Work is being completed after school hours and over the spring break holiday next week.
It is estimated the work will be completed on both projects by the beginning of next school year.
“The cameras will help us ... in the event that we need to be able to see, not only for day to day coverage of hallways and things of that nature, from the central office standpoint to be able to see the building at night and weekends when no one’s around and hopefully be able to deter some of the vandalism that we have had,” Barnes said. “The PA system is an absolute home run win for us in that it needed to be replaced.”