GATE CITY — Two Southwest Virginia school systems were among 86 across the state that were awarded grant funds last week to make security improvements at various campuses.
The funds awarded to Scott and Lee counties were part of $6 million in School Security Equipment Grants that Gov. Bob McDonnell announced to improve safety and security in 459 schools and regional education programs located throughout the commonwealth. The program was created earlier this year by the Virginia General Assembly.
Scott County’s allocation totals $63,512, while Lee County received $100,000. Lee County’s grant will go toward improving security at Dryden Elementary, Elydale Elementary, Flatwoods Elementary, Jonesville Middle, Pennington Middle, Rose Hill Elementary, St. Charles Elementary and Thomas Walker High.
The funds in Scott County will be also be used to enhance entrance security at each of the county’s schools, Scott County Superintendent John Ferguson said.
“We are very excited about this grant,” Ferguson said. “Whether we received this or not, we were going to purchase the necessary materials for a secure entry system at each of our elementary schools, but this will allow us to do all of our schools at one time instead of doing a little bit here and there.”
The security system being used in Scott County would restrict entry at all campuses, including the Scott County Career and Technical Center and the school system’s Renaissance Program.
Guests to the schools will be seen on camera at a campus’ designated entrance and will need to request to be let in through an intercom system by front office staff.
In addition to the intercoms — which were previously installed at Duffield Primary School and Weber City Elementary — the new systems will have the capability to allow school employees to enter with the use of a key card or key fob.
One system has already been installed at Hilton Elementary School, Ferguson said. Installation of the remaining systems will begin as soon as materials are ordered.