CHESHIRE — Since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, many local communities in Connecticut have been updating and reworking school security standards.
Last month, the Town Council awarded a bid for school safety and security upgrades at four local schools. The bid went to A. Secondino & Son, Inc. of Branford for the amount of $953,000.
“We held off on this bid for a little bit to see if we could get a better price, and I think that was a great decision,” said Town Council Vice Chair Tim Slocum during a March 25 meeting. “With this bid, we saved about $80,000 for the overall project.
The work will take place at Dodd Middle School, Cheshire High School and Highland and Doolittle elementary schools.
The work will include reconfiguring the main entrances of all four schools, replacing the facade/entryway with aluminum frame assemblies, and glazing the glass. A service window or kiosk will be set up at each front entrance and a secondary partition, constructed with ballistic-rated level 3 glazing, will be installed to create what experts call a “person-trap”.
“The work will be done over the course of the summer, so about eight weeks,” said Public Works Director George Noewatne. “Chapman and Norton Schools are also scheduled to undergo similar renovations, but since it is a bit more involved (for those facilities), we are going to be doing them next summer. What the School Modernization Committee decides for their Phase One project will also effect what we do to both schools.”
The SMC has, in recent weeks, narrowed down options for Phase One of their recommendation for the overhaul of school infrastructure. The plans call for major renovations to either Chapman or the creation of two new elementary schools, depending on what the council ultimately approves.
“Funding for the other two schools will come in 2022 when we have a better idea of what the SMC wants to do with those areas,” said Town Council Chairman Rob Oris. “These security improvements are important to the safety of our schools.”