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$$$$ For Security At Edison Middle School


Updated: 04/23/2013 4:40 P.M.

Edison Middle School profits from Monday's distribution of money from West Virginia's School Building Authority.

Wood County Schools is getting more than $2.5 million it asked for from the SBA, for security improvements at the south side school.

School officials explained to us in March, the project includes restructuring the main office entrance, and other improvements designed for both safety and security.

The money matches more than $650,000 the schools plan to raise locally.

Meanwhile, the authority granted $4.5 million for renovations and additions at Harrisville Elementary School in Ritchie County, and a grant for $630,000 for heating and air conditioning improvements at Ritchie County Middle and High School.

Wirt County also got a needs grant for heating and air conditioning work at its primary and middle schools.

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Updated: 03/06/2013 6:30 P.M.

West Virginia School Building Authority Chairman Mark Manchin isn't sold on bulletproof glass for school buildings, because of the cost.

He says shatterproof glass has been tested, but Wood County Schools says it might be a problem refitting its buildings with shatterproof materials. The superintendent says it has been taking steps, on an ongoing basis, to address an ongoing concern.

"We try to make sure every school is equipped with a minimal amount of cameras and other equipment we've installed, such as door locks," says Dr. James Patrick Law. "We have the three pro officers at the high schools, but we don't have them anywhere else."

Manchin told lawmakers Tuesday what's called a panic button, which locks down schools and notifies authorities of a potential emergency, is being installed in school buildings. Wood County is among those which have them, and other measures are being taken.

"Also, do we redesign the entrances; do we make that front door a solid glass door?," says Sue Woodward, School Spokeswoman. "Do we plant shrubbery right next to a building where someone could hide? So, we're doing a lot of things and looking at what would be best to be safe."

When it comes to school security, one thing not mentioned as much as it used to be, is metal detectors in school buildings. Dr. Law says police have told him they're not all that effective in deterring attacks.

"If you have something that's metallic that isn't needed in a school, it could be passed through a window or a door that's open. It could be passed through some access that gets around that metal detector."

Manchin added in his meeting with legislators that schools in the state will have parking lots that will be in sight of principal's and administrative offices.

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Keeping kids safe.

The Wood County Board of Education plans to once again request money for security upgrades at Edison Middle School.

It's looking for $2 million from the SBA, to match $700,000 it plans to put into the project.

The school system is removing maintenance money from its previous proposal, which the authority rejected last year-focusing only on the security issue.

"We revisited the project this time, looking at the security link and also restructuring the main office entrance into the building," says schools spokesperson Sue Woodward. "So we hope that, in light of the state's concern with safety and security, it will be more appealing to the school building authority."

Woodward says the school system already is doing a number of improvements the SBA has suggested this week to state lawmakers.
Those include shatterproof glass and installation of a so-called "panic button" to lock down the building and contact 911 during a school emergency.


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