Elkhart schools beefing up security


While everyone is enjoying their summer vacation, work on renovations and safety improvements at 26 Elkhart schools is underway.

A multi-million dollar referendum approved by voters in May is paying for it.

It has been a busy time at Elkhart Memorial High School where several projects are going on at the same time to upgrade and improve building safety and security.

One improvement being looked into is adding a buffer zone of sorts to the main entryway.

"We are actually going to add another layer of security by adding an additional set of doors, which will be right here in front of the security kiosk that will allow the people that man the kiosk to check visitors," described Director of Building Services Tony Gianesi.

When it comes to security, Memorial and all buildings in the district will get a huge upgrade with more security cameras.

"The entire district will get a new camera security system," Gianesi added. "It will touch every building. Every building will get cameras. Right now in the district, we have approximately 157 cameras districtwide, and we are going to be well over 800."

One of the key projects at Memorial involves changes made to the school cafeteria when students return in a couple of weeks, they will notice a whole new look. Originally, it was designed as an open concept cafeteria. Now, walls are being put up around it.

"We decided that we needed to enclose the space, make a better sense of security, create a better sense of security for our staff and students," Gianese said. "The purple walls are the new walls. We are also going to have the new doors that will accompany those walls, a new sound system."

Another change - teachers will have a dedicated point to enter and leave the building, using their swipe cards.

All the world won't be finished until October 2016.

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