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Officials stepping up surveillance at school
Board approves $18k for security
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While it could be nine months before a new elementary school opens in southern Dawson County, officials moved forward last week with plans for a security system in the building.


Funding for the $18,167 surveillance system comes from the last 1-cent education sales tax. The board of education approved the measure in a 5-0 vote last week.


According to Stacy Gilleland, district director of facilities and maintenance, the surveillance will provide extra security for the building, which will be the fourth elementary school in the district.


“With few people being in the building right now, [staff] thought it would be an advantage ... it’s isolated there,” Gilleland said.


Work has already begun on the system, which includes nine interior cameras and seven exterior cameras. Gilleland said similar systems are in place at the district’s middle and high schools.


Board member Doris Cook said a robbery at a school under surveillance last year produced “some nice footage of who did it, who came in and who came out,” she said.


“Even though we’ve got people coming in and out of the building on a daily basis, we think it’s important to have this,” Cook added.


Fellow board member Will Wade agreed. “We wanted to make sure that we had the system to stave off concerns of potential robberies,” Wade said.


District Superintendent Keith Porter said the stepped-up security will continue to help once the school opens in fall 2010.


“We’re getting very close to getting our occupancy permit,” Porter said. “Actually, we’ve been working over the past several weeks to go ahead and expedite that process.”


Funding for the school, as well as the security system, comes from the county’s last 1-cent educational sales tax. Dollars were earmarked for “acquiring, constructing and equipping” the new elementary school in a 2005 school board resolution.


Equipping the school with a security system is one of the last steps before opening, according to Gilleland. “The system should be complete anytime now,” he said.


The bid was awarded to Tech Optics Inc. out of Winder. Along with 16 cameras, the package includes installation, a 3-year hardware warranty, software license and ethernet power supply.