Plainfield lays out security upgrade plans
By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Plainfield - posted Mon., Feb. 25, 2013
On Feb. 20, the Plainfield Board of Finance unanimously approved a request for $49,000 to upgrade security at the town hall, Plainfield Middle School, Plainfield Central School, Moosup Elementary School and the Shepard Hill School. A town meeting will be held on Feb. 28 to seek voter approval.
First Selectman Paul Sweet told BOF members the request wasn't an emotional response to the Newtown tragedy. “It's a reasonable request to do reasonable things to make our schools safer. I don't think we should put it off.” Security upgrades to schools would include surveillance systems, door controls, panic buttons and fence repairs.
The request represents $40,000 for school upgrades and $9,000 for upgrades to town buildings.
Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Bryan Klimkiewicz said the $40,000 the school was asking for represented the amount it would take to make security comparable across all buildings. “We saw inequities in access, surveillance and fencing,” he said. “We've been assessing our schools all along for safety, but this brings it to a new level.”
Klimkiewicz said that after the Newtown school shooting tragedy, school and town officials met with police, fire and emergency management personnel to do a top-to-bottom review of town facilities. They ranked the priority of inequities they found, and some were taken care of immediately.
At PCS, $12,000 was spent to ensure that the intercom could be heard in all rooms in the school. Door controls involving surveillance and buzzers at PMS, PCS and SHE would cost $16,000. The installation of panic buttons at all schools would cost $18,000. The panic buttons would be directly connected to the Plainfield Police Department. Currently the panic buttons alert a security firm. Fence repairs at SHE and MES would cost $6,000.
The costs are based on bids made with current contractors, said Klimkiewicz. “Once we get the approval, the improvements will happen immediately. They'll be in before end of the school year,” he said.
Sweet said that the $9,000 the town was asking for would pay for security upgrades at the town hall, the early childhood center, senior center and recreation department building.
Family Resource Center Director Rena Cadro said she and her staff had already made some improvements at their location on Norwich Road. People coming in to fill out applications can now fill them out in the lobby. New visitor badges are color coded for the different programs in the building.
Police Chief Michael Suprenant said that town and education leaders had come together for the benefit of the community. “I am so proud of the leaders in this community,” he said. “We've had several meetings where we've put our heads together. We've run intruder drills and looked through all our schools to find our weaknesses. We made improvements externally and internally. With this money, we'll be where we need to be to make sure our schools are as safe as we can make them.”