- Grove City, Pennsylvania

April 5, 2013

Price of security tops $3 million

By Monica Pryts/Staff Writer
Allied News

SLIPPERY ROCK — Slippery Rock school directors are considering upgrades to security features that would require more strict procedures to let visitors into all five school buildings.

School officials have been reviewing the district's emergency and crisis plans since the Dec. 14 shooting in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

HHSDR Architects/Engineers, Sharon, in March 2012 completed a comprehensive study of all of the district's buildings, facilities and grounds, giving board members a variety of options and costs for renovations.

School officials have started with an in-depth review of the district's security system, which now uses a speaker for identifying visitors before they can be buzzed in.

HHSDR's designs for system upgrades could cost up to $3.2 million.

The firm on Monday presented the board with a proposal for enhanced security measures that includes card readers and electronic latches at access doors and main entrances.

Video cameras with phones connected to the front office are also suggested for main entrances, which would include secured vestibules, HHSDR architect Vincent Ordinario said.

The main entrance at Moraine Elementary in Prospect would be enlarged and a camera, card reader and electronic latch would be added to the area surrounding the district administration offices, which are in the middle school.

There are two options for the high school, Ordinario said. The first would cost about $2,015,000 and involves building a new addition on the first floor to house the fitness center; the main office would move to the current fitness center, putting it closer to the front door.

Or an addition can be built in front of the auditorium to house main offices, also moving it closer to the main entrance; the second option leaves the fitness center where it is now and costs about $1,676,000, he said.

Updating security at Har-Mer Elementary in Harrisville would cost $261,000; Moraine, $348,000; Slippery Rock Area Elementary, $376,000; and Slippery Rock Middle School, $207,000.

If the board decides to take on the project, work at the elementary and middle schools could be completed over the summer, said Greer Hayden, president of HHSDR.

He suggested board members vote at their next meeting, March 25.

Changes at the high school could take about a year to finish since there's more construction involved.

"The board has time to digest this," Hayden said of the high school proposals.

School officials later said they haven't decided how the project would be funded and that the district is always looking to improve security and safety.

Also on Monday, board members approved a contract with Fennick Group Inc. and Strongland Roofing Systems Inc., Vandergrift, Pa., to replace the roof at Moraine, which has been leaking in recent years.

The cost is $681,241.92 and it will be paid for out of the district's fund balance, which has about $6.1 million. The roof will be replaced over the summer.

Voters in November rejected a ballot referendum that asked if the district should take on $38 million in debt for renovations, mainly for Moraine and the high school. That would have led to a property tax hike of 11 or 12 mills.

The district covers Brady, Franklin, Mercer, Muddy Creek, Slippery Rock and Worth townships and the boroughs of Harrisville, Portersville, Prospect, Slippery Rock and West Liberty.

Published March 16, 2013, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.