Residents in the East Aurora School District will vote on a $7.8 million capital project that will address facilities needs but also boost security at each of the district’s three buildings.
Superintendent Brian Russ on Tuesday said much of the proposed renovations are routine facilities maintenance, but about $400,000 of the project will be geared toward upgrading the security on exterior doors. Currently, school doors are locked with only sporadic monitoring of building exteriors. The upgrades would provide cameras at all school exits and require a swipe card for employees to gain entrance.
For students and the general public, entrance to school buildings will be acquired through a buzz-in system available at specified doors. The superintendent said it has not been determined who will be in charge of “buzzing” someone into a building.
The cost of the initiative, about $3,000 per door, raised concern recently from one board member.
“I think there’s an inordinate amount of hysteria about this,” Stephen Zagrobelny said, referring to the reaction of schools nationwide in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy in Newtown, Conn.
But fellow Board Member Judy Malys called it “peace of mind.”
Another item on the capital project list — replacement of the score board at the high school — drew criticism from Board Member Terri Ohlweiler.
“$53,000 for a scoreboard is too much. That’s a teacher’s salary,” she said.
School officials noted that the board is 40 years old. Replacement parts are unavailable and repairmen have told them the board is “disintegrating”.
Russ said state aid will cover approximately 70 percent of the project which, if approved, will run from summer 2014 through mid-2016. Annual debt service cost is anticipated at $220,000.
Other items contained in the proposal are: roofing repairs, pool renovations, a new sound system at the high school, a new cooler/freezer, a boiler, masonry and stone work at the middle school which dates back to 1916, and phone, voicemail system and technology upgrades.
Residents will vote from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 8 in the middle school cafeteria, 430 Main St.