Schools install system to keep students safe

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Nathan Hardin
The Rowan-Salisbury School System is taking student safety to another level for the 2009-2010 school year by placing security cameras in many high schools and middle schools.
According to Rita Foil, public information officer of the Rowan-Salisbury School System, the system received a $500,000 grant called Secure Our Schools, in which security cameras will be placed at high schools and middle schools.
The SOS grant was attained through cooperation with local law enforcement using the Community Oriented Policing Service. The school system became involved with the grant this year.
“Currently, only Salisbury High School and Knox Middle School have fully functioning cameras,” Foil said. “Salisbury High has 63 security cameras and Knox Middle with 54 installed cameras.”
West Rowan, North Rowan, Henderson and Horizons Unlimited have been awarded a contract and the security systems will be in place by the beginning of the new school year.
“The design work for East Rowan and South Rowan high schools is almost complete and they’re almost ready for the bidding process,” said Bill Hill, project construction manager.
“The school system is planning to have security cameras at these two schools by the first of September,” Foil said.
North Middle and China Grove Middle are listed as alternate schools.
“If the bids come in at a good price, security cameras will be placed at these locations also,” said Foil.
The cameras won’t simply be used to view indoor activities but will be also used to monitor entrances and parking lots.
“The security cameras will be placed at each location outside and around the buildings for security purposes. They will be used to monitor vandalism at our schools, and on weekends,” Foil said.
While C2 Contractors Chief Information Officer Ian Lamberth worked on installations at West Rowan High School, he explained Rowan-Salisbury schools are getting high quality security systems.
“This is state-of-the-art equipment,” Lamberth said. “They are using digital video recording with a server-based software management system to monitor activity.”
West Rowan Principal Jamie Durant is optimistic about the reduction of vandalism the 74 West Rowan cameras could provide.
“The cameras will be a deterrent of vandalism and discipline disputes,” Durant said. “We’re unique because we have five main buildings and our kids spend a lot of time outside going to classes. Hopefully this will help.”
Due to the high number of elementary schools in the county, they will most likely be pushed to another budget period.
“Elementary schools will be reviewed if funding is available. However, the Rowan-Salisbury School System incorporates 20 elementary schools and it would cost approximately $2 million to install cameras throughout the elementary schools,” Foil said.