Florida District Outlines $1.7 Million in Security Upgrades

Florida District Outlines $1.7 Million in Security Upgrades

The Manatee County School District plans to address gaps in campus security with a $1.7 million security upgrades project.

The Manatee County School District in Bradenton, Fla., plans to boost its campus security with a security upgrade project, made possible by $1.7 million in grant funding from the Florida Department of Education. The project, approved by the school board on Tuesday, will begin in October and continue through January 2021.

According to the project plan, most of Manatee County’s campuses are less than 75 percent enclosed, and several of its schools have less than 26 percent coverage on their perimeters. As a start, the district plans to install fences at 31 of its elementary, middle and high school campuses.

Doug Wagner, deputy superintendent of operations, said the project aims to add to existing fences at these campuses without fully enclosing the schools. Each school has different needs and plans, he said, based on their age and current security measures.

The project plan states that each fence will be “resistant to climbing, maintain visual surveillance lines, be durable, and aesthetically pleasing.”

Most of the state grant will go toward new fences and related security upgrades, but about $244,000 is set to go toward other projects at the district’s charter schools.

Imagine Charter School plans to install bullet-resistant glass on its lobby doors, as well as purchase Barracuda Intruder Defense Systems, a portable device that can attach to the top, bottom or handle of a door to barricade it from the inside. State College of Florida Collegiate School will purchase 34 “lockdown door barriers,” Team Success will add 37 security cameras to its campus and Rowlett Middle Academy will erect LED lights in its parking lots, doorways and hallways.

“The importance of this project is to ensure our schools are as safe as possible, given the resources that we have,” Wagner said. “We’re going to continue addressing this.”

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Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.