When the 2015 Weatherford ISD bond Proposition 1 was passed, it included the initial phase of secured entries and cameras for campuses. At its regular meeting on July 17, board members approved the second phase, estimated at $1.8 million, to include additional cameras and key card accesses.
These additional cameras and key card entries will provide the district with 435 new cameras and for 130 perimeter doors to be outfitted with the new technology. Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Hanks said the essentially keyless entries are a safer and more effective way to manage who has access to the buildings.
"You are able to have a record of who enters what door and at what time," he said, adding that is someone misplaces a key card or it’s stolen, it’s much easier to simply deactivate than it is to have to re-key a building.
Because the Proposition 3 measure also passed in 2015, which included the construction of the new Shirley Hall Middle School and the adding of a wing at Tison Middle School, those schools were already outfitted with the new technology and would not need to be upgraded.
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Among the enhancements are more cameras in areas that currently don’t have any i.e. parking lots and spaces in between buildings and also a feature that allows law enforcement agencies to connect to the school’s system and be able to see what it going on inside the building should a call be triggered to that building. For example, if someone broke into a building and propped open a door, police would be able to see that on camera and isolate the problem, Hanks explained.
"It makes it a much safer and quicker operation for everyone involved," he said.
Funds for the second phase are coming from leftover monies from the projects coming in about $6 million under budget and installation is slated to be completed by May of next year.
Also at the meeting, trustees received their monthly facilities update which highlighted photos from the soon-to-be open Hall Middle School. The photos were shown on the heels of a tour of that same facility a few days prior with the Weatherford City Council. Other projects, like the stadium sound system and turf replacement at Kangaroo Stadium, tennis court resurfacing at the high school, and a few demolition projects around the district were showcased.
Some discussion was also held on the possibility of a few new facilities. One is a Multi-Purpose Activity Center (MAC) that could be used by several programs. Another is a new Ag Science Center that would be approximately 26,350 square feet and house four classrooms and one lab area. Lastly, a Career and Technology Centre could also be constructed. One or several of these facilities would be located at the high school campus.
Tracy Ray, WISD Assistant Superintendent of Business and Operations, said some of the money for one of these facilities could come from the excess funds from the bond package coming in under budget by about $5.3 million. No further discussion was held. The board will begin work sessions on the 2017-18 budget later this month.
Also at the meeting:
▪ Richard Scoggin, WISD Executive Director of Athletics, gave his annual athletics department review. He said the department had "lots of ups and downs" but that there were changes upcoming and that it was "a good thing."
▪ The board recognized the Weatherford Kangaroos Baseball Team and its players for their season and academic and athletic awards, as well as several partners for the free summer lunch program.
▪ Set meeting dates for the 2017-18 school year.