District focuses on school security

Aug. 30, 2014 @ 03:38 PM

After nearly a year of setbacks, Vance County Schools can finally re-bid for security locks.

During the Vance County Board of Education building and grounds committee meeting Thursday, the director of maintenance, Kevin Perdue, told the board he and staff were looking for operating software that is compatible with security equipment already in place.

He said they were almost ready to look for companies to start the project.

The district first conducted bids for door locks last November. At that time, N.C. Sound bid about $69,000 and Access Control Consultants about $117,000. The two companies were the only ones to submit responses.

Board members and staff debated for months about the number of bids they should have received by law, whether N.C. Sound could legally design the framework for the security system — since being one of the bidders could produce a conflict of interest — and the vast difference in the projected costs from the two entities.

After revisiting the issue at several meetings, the board agreed at an April meeting to throw out the two bids and try again.

Later, the committee decided to wait for the state Department of Public Instruction’s facility study to examine the buildings and suggest more efficient use of them before restarting the bidding process.

Perdue told the committee he expected to have a rough draft of the state’s examination by Friday. Inspectors will come give a formal explanation of their findings at one of the next board meetings.

Each school in Vance County has an officer on standby now and, since last week, a panic button for front office staff and administrators.

Perdue said staff installed the call devices before students started school Aug. 25. The Department of Public Instruction paid half the $12,000 cost.

He said he hopes a monitoring system could be installed and made accessible to outside law enforcement in case of an emergency.

School board member Ed Wilson requested a rough timeline for the process for schools receiving the security systems at the next full board meeting.

“I don’t want to go through what we went through last year,” he said.

Perdue said he is also consulting with Snide Electric for an energy savings facility study.

The company has agreed to do a free survey that would suggest upgrades to help the district save on electrical costs.

Superintendent Ronald Gregory was absent during the meeting.

Contact the writer at dhairston@hendersondispatch.com.