WESTPORT, Conn. – New security locks may be installed on interior doors at all eight of Westport’s public schools after the Board of Education on Monday gave district administrators the OK to seek town funding for such a project.
The upgrading of interior door locks is one of three school security projects both the Westport Police Department and Kroll Advisory Solutions—the Manhattan-based risk consulting firm hired by the district to conduct a school security audit—identified as a high priority. The other two projects would include upgrading surveillance camera systems and installing ballistic-grade window film in all school entryways, Superintendent Elliott Landon said.
“The board elected to move forward with one project at this time because upgrading our interior door locks is of particularly high priority,” said Landon. “The board will await Kroll’s final report—which is expected to be completed by the end of November— before it decides on the other two projects.”
Westport is among 36 districts in the state so far approved to receive funding for school security projects as part of the Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety Act. The town will receive $260,083 in state funding for the three proposed school security improvements.
The cost of all three projects is estimated to be $1,260,642, Landon said. Minus the $261,083 in state funding, the total cost to the town would be $999,559.
The door lockset project alone is estimated to cost over $435,000. Of that, the town will be reimbursed more than $90,000, meaning the town would pay just more than $345,000.
With unanimous approval from the education board, district administrators will now draft a Request for Proposals for the door locks project, Landon said. Before the RFP can be sent out, the Board of Finance and the Representative Town Meeting, the town’s legislative body, must approve the town funding for the project.
Following the Dec. 14 shooting at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary, in which 26 students and staff members were killed, the education board made improving school security a top priority.