Buzzers installed in WJ schools

By Audrey Ingram -

Workers began installing new security systems on the main doors to West Jefferson’s school buildings this week.

Facilities and transportation director Bob Hiss updated Jefferson Local school board members Monday night on ongoing security updates throughout the district.

This year, only Norwood Elementary had a locked-down entry system on its main door. This fall, Norwood will have entry systems on its main and back entrances, and the middle and high schools will also have entry systems installed on their main entrances.

The systems include a video feed and will require visitors to be buzzed in before they can enter the buildings.

These systems will also be connected via Apple and Android technology which will allow summer-, before- and after-school program instructors to buzz visitors in with an iPad even if they are not in the front office, Hiss said.

The buzzer systems cost about $25,600 to install, but the district will pay only about $11,000 thanks to a grant through the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission.

The district is also utilizing a new program, NaviGate, to organize its emergency response plans this year.

Superintendent Bill Mullett learned about the program at a conference after school districts across the state were required to streamline their emergency plans last year. The goals was for plans to be organized the same across districts so that emergency responders wouldn’t have to worry about deciphering each school’s plan, Hiss explained.

One piece of the system is a 360-degree view of each classroom that administrators or emergency responders could pull up in order to quickly formulate a plan.

Hiss also shared goals included in his five-year security plan, such as installing buzzer systems at additional entrances as funding becomes available — the system the district is installing can handle up to 32 doors — and upgrading security cameras throughout the district.

By Audrey Ingram

Reach Audrey Ingram can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1615 or via Twitter @Audrey.MP.

Reach Audrey Ingram can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1615 or via Twitter @Audrey.MP.