The Windham-Raymond School District will begin work this summer to change the entrances to four schools in Windham, bringing security features in those schools in line with security at the entrances of Raymond schools.
Work on the project should begin soon after school ends this year and be complete in time for the start of next school year, said Bill Hansen, facilities director for RSU 14.
Hansen said this work will bring consistency to the visitor-entrance process in all six schools in the district.
The new entrances will feature cameras and airphones, Hansen said, and have people enter a vestibule before being directed into the office or into the school buildings themselves through separate locked entrances.
“People will have a way to enter the building and connect with staff without coming directly into the building,” Hansen said. “This is normal best practice if you’re going into a school today, but it was not thought of when the Windham schools were built,” he said.
The Field Allen School will not have a similar system on its entrance because it does not have an office, said Hansen. Instead, an audio and video station at the door will allow a person locked out of the building to communicate with staff in the middle school, he said.
The plans have been submitted to and approved by Windham Police, the Fire Marshall and Cumberland County Emergency Services, Hansen said.
The upgrades were initially mentioned during a risk assessment conducted for the district last year, but the speed of the project was accelerated in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Connecticut earlier this year, Hansen said.
Since that event, RSU 14 schools have locked their doors, which are watched by attendants who let in visitors, he said.
The upgrades will offer an additional level of security, said Hansen. “We live in a wonderful community of great people,” he said. “This is us controlling visitor access to our schools when kids are in the building.”
Three contractors submitted bids for the $253,000 project, said Hansen.