Additional security upgrades coming to elementary schools

Additional security upgrades coming to elementary schools

NORTH PROVIDENCE – The town’s older elementary schools are undergoing another round of security upgrades.

The idea, officials say, is to have the same security features district-wide, bringing Centredale, Greystone and Whelan Elementary Schools up to par with the security measures in place at the town’s two newest schools, Stephen Olney and McGuire.

School leaders petitioned the town last year to make the upgrades without impact to the annual budget by using funds from the nonprofit Kids Klub.

When the district entered an agreement with the after-school care program, school and town officials agreed that revenues garnered from renting school buildings to Kids Klub would be put aside to be used specifically for school improvements.

The Town Council later approved the School Department’s request to use up to $75,000 of the roughly $140,000 Kids Klub account balance on safety upgrades.

Last fall, the district got to work installing new camera systems at the schools, which tie in via fiber optics to emergency dispatchers. Upgrades were also made to the Police Department’s key fobs, so that they can access all school buildings in the event of an emergency.

The final phase involves installing safety glass in the foyers of the three older elementary schools.

When the work is complete, Supt. Joseph Goho said each of the district’s elementary buildings will be “comparable in all ways in terms of security.”

The safety glass was built into the newly constructed Stephen Olney and McGuire Schools.

Next, Goho said the district will turn its focus to the middle and high school, “so that all of our schools will really be on the same level.”

The elementary schools will be paid for via Kids Klub funding, while Goho said funding for the middle and high school projects may come in part from reimbursements from other school projects done in the fall using COVID-19 money.

Assistant Supt. Louise Seitsinger recently confirmed that the district has applied for Green Ribbon Schools grants from the U.S. Department of Education for Stephen Olney and McGuire.

It is not a monetary grant, Seitsinger said, but rather “a recognition of the three pillars of reducing environmental impact, improving health and wellness of students and staff, and also providing effective environmental and sustainable education.”