Greensburg Salem considers $2.5 million security upgrade
Greensburg Salem School District officials now have a price tag for the “mousetrap entrances” they want to install in order to improve school safety — $2.5 million.
That’s a rough estimate that would cover the cost of entrances at all five school buildings, according to a report by New Kensington architecture firm Canzian/Johnston & Associates.
Now the question is how to pay for it.
“We really didn’t get into that conversation yet,” school board President Ron Mellinger said.
The district expects to have about $91,000 in its capital fund at the end of the year. That money is used to pay for major building improvements.
The first draft of the district’s 2018-19 budget does not include money for capital projects.
If the new entrances are built, the money will probably come by issuing a bond or finding an outside source, according to Superintendent Eileen Amato.
“It would not be able to come out of the budget. It would need special funding,” she said.
“Mousetrap” entrances are set up so anyone coming into the school must first pass through a secure vestibule, which is separated from the rest of the school by a second set of doors.
No Greensburg Salem school now has this type of entrance, according to Amato.
District officials have been discussing secure entrances since 2012, after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Officials decided to make the project a priority after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla., in February that left 17 dead.
The week after the Parkland shooting, a man broke into Greensburg Salem Middle School, wandering the halls for about 20 minutes and leaving before students arrived.
The suspect, Ian Frederick Sagucio, died of an unknown medical emergency later that day while he fought with Greensburg police as they attempted to arrest him at his home.
Several district parents have attended school board committee meetings offering to help raise money for school safety initiatives, according to Amato.
These fundraisers have yet to materialize, but the parents were encouraged to work with the Greensburg Salem Education Foundation, which organizes charitable giving initiatives for the district, Amato said.
Money raised through the foundation can’t go to facilities improvements such as mousetrap entrances but could be used to pay for equipment, training and personnel, Amato said.
Board members will continue to discuss mousetrap entrances over the next month or so before making a decision, Mellinger said.
Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6646, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Soolseem.