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Article updated: 2/1/2013 5:22 AM

Glen Ellyn District 41 approves security upgrades

By Christopher Placek

New security cameras, an advanced intercom system and panic buttons are part of the security upgrades coming to Glen Ellyn District 41's five schools.

Officials say the $55,000 in upgrades approved this week by the school board will be made by spring break. They said the improvements are not directly related to recent school shootings.

"This is something that was recommended to the district as a result of a safety audit conducted a few years back," said Bob Ciserella, assistant superintendent of finance, facilities and operations. "It's a continued implementation."

"I think the Connecticut incident has put everyone on a heightened sense of alertness, but this isn't a direct result."

Currently, visitors to some of the district's schools must ring a doorbell and be buzzed in by a staff member working at the front desk. At some schools, though, visitors can walk directly to the front office.

At least two people work at the front desk at each school, Ciserella said.

The security upgrade plan includes placement of cameras at the front door of each school and monitors in front offices for school staff to view.

An Aiphone-brand intercom also will be placed at the front and alternate entrances of each building that allows staff members to see those wishing to enter on a 2-by-2-inch screen, and talk to them on a phone.

Wireless remote duress buttons, which will be placed in secret locations, will allow staff to contact first responders in an emergency without having to pick up the phone to call 911, Ciserella said.

In total, the district is purchasing 13 cameras and 13 Aiphones from ADT/Tyco.

Ciserella said the district long has used duress buttons, surveillance cameras, cellphones, proximity card readers, and alarm and PA systems. The district budgets $35,000 every year for security equipment purchases, so the extra $20,000 for the new projects will be funded through the current year budget.

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