Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

April 26, 2013

Rusk ISD hires firm to make security upgrades

Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress

RUSK — School board members on Thursday named local firm Berry & Clay Construction to oversee work on proposed security upgrades at all RISD campuses.

The firm also will “sit down with us to make sure that everything that everyone wants accomplished is done in a cost-effective manner,” said Superintendent Dr. Scott Davis.

While upgraded security features were incorporated into newer construction projects – specifically the high school and intermediate school buildings – the district wanted upgrades in those structures to include glass partitions for better visibility and electronic stripes on interior doorways to limit access to visitors inside.

Work on the remaining buildings would focus on centralized entry ways similar to those at elementary campuses in Jacksonville, where individuals entering the building first check-in with the receptionist, who will screen IDs through a computerized system that not only scans for potential law enforcement alerts on a visitor, but spits out a temporary pass for their use.

“And when you have that on, everybody knows you have permission to be in that part of the building,” Dr. Davis said.

The district has always strived to ensure the safety of Rusk students, but “after the Sandy Hook incident in December, it's been part of on-going discussion,” he said. “We have been going through the process to ensure that we have safe and secure campuses to the fullest extent possible.”

No price tag has been set yet on the renovation project, which the superintendent said is expected to be completed by the beginning of the upcoming school year, but Berry & Clay “have waived the construction management fees, donating that part of their work to the district as a public service,” the superintendent said. “We'll still have some costs, but this will help us keep costs down.”

Work kicks off Monday, “when we will be sitting down with everybody to start on the plans,” he said.