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F-M voters to decide on safety and security enhancements

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Fayetteville-Manlius School District residents will have the opportunity to decide on May 21 whether the district moves forward with a nearly $1 million capital project proposal to enhance the district’s current safety and security measures.

The $989,300 plan, which includes reconfiguring each school building’s entrance and office area, changing classroom door locks and installing additional security cameras district wide, will be included as a separate proposition on the ballot when residents vote May 21 on the proposed 2013-14 school budget.

Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Fayetteville Elementary School, 704 South Manlius St., Fayetteville. The safety and security proposal requires a simple majority vote (more than 50 percent) to be approved.

Based on current tax rates, residents could expect this proposal to add $1.01 to the school tax bill for a house assessed at $100,000 each year for a total of 15 years.

If voters approve the proposal, plans would be sent to the state Department of Education for approval. Given the time it takes for that approval and to request project bids, the projects would likely be completed in the summer of 2014.

After the fatal school shootings that took place in December at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, Fayetteville-Manlius parents, staff and administrators questioned if there was more the district could do to prevent unauthorized visitors from accessing district buildings.

“We are always looking for ways to improve ourselves,” Superintendent Corliss Kaiser said. “This tragedy prompted us to review our current practices and protocols. We appreciate the input we received from parents and community members, many of whom frequent our buildings and had great suggestions.”

In addition to reviewing parent and community suggestions, district administrators and the Board of Education’s Facilities Committee also reviewed a report by a retired police captain who conducted a school entry security assessment. They met in March with the district architect to review the suggestions and determine what would be feasible given each building’s layout. On March 11, the Board approved putting the project before voters.

If the proposal is approved, a second set of entryway doors would be installed at each school. Visitors’ identification would be reviewed before they would be allowed into the school. The project ensures that every visitor checks in at the main office before gaining access to the school.  

Other work includes:

District-wide:

  • Modify existing locks and mechanical devices on all doors so they could be locked from the inside. Currently, staff must lock the door with a key from the outside. ($130,000)  
  • Harden existing doors and add additional doors in main building entrance areas; reconstruct entrance and office areas. ($300,000)
  • Install additional security cameras and access controls. ($222,500)
  • Door window blinds and signage. ($60,500)

F-M High School:

  • Construct a covered exterior walkway between the art and science wing where students pass between classes. ($40,000)
  • Install security fencing between House I and House II. ($8,000)

“We feel we are taking a balanced approach to enhance our safety and security measures. We looked at areas where we felt we could reasonably improve our situation in a manner that is responsible to our students, staff and taxpayers,” said Michael Vespi, assistant superintendent for business services and the district’s safety officer.

 

What are the project cost estimates?

Safety and Security Enhancement Projects: $761,000

Related Costs and Fees: $152,200 (includes architectural, engineering and legal fees; asbestos testing, surveys and monitoring; insurance and construction management.)

Contingency Costs: $76,100 (Per standard construction practices, the district budgeted 10 percent of the construction costs to pay for any unforeseen expenses that may result as contractors complete the individual projects.)

Total Project Cost: $989,300

 


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