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posted: 7/24/2013 12:44 PM

Student, community safety a priority for Waubonsee

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Safety is among the many priorities addressed by Waubonsee Community College. There are some exciting new projects the college is working on to further enhance the health and safety of our students and college community.

The most visible safety enhancement will be the installation of a traffic signal at the north entrance of the college's Sugar Grove Campus. Waubonsee has been aggressively pursuing a light at this entrance since 2010.

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Numerous area elected officials, the Kane County Department of Transportation and the Illinois Department of Transportation, which facilitated a federal grant to pay for the majority of the project costs, have partnered with the college to make this project a reality.

Waubonsee's board of trustees strongly supported this project, including engineering, land acquisition, permitting and construction management. I am excited to announce that we expect construction to begin in August and be completed by this fall.

Another upcoming project to address emergency preparedness for the college community is the college's new Waubonsee Alert System. This system will allow students, faculty and staff to receive emergency messages whether they are on the go, at home or on campus.

This is especially critical when seconds, not minutes, make a difference in getting a message out. Being able to send text messages, emails and voice calls through one system is a significant upgrade to our emergency communications and another powerful tool in our emergency tool kit.

For decades, Waubonsee has been well served by its security staff. In 2010, the college transitioned from a Public Safety Department to a full-fledged Campus Police Department.

While student cadets still gain valuable experience in the department, trained and experienced full- and part-time professional police officers -- all retired from or currently working with area departments -- provide for the safety of the college community.

Our officers have full police authority and can effectively and conscientiously handle all types of emergency cases.

We also have excellent relationships with area law enforcement agencies and departments, working collaboratively on matters of mutual concern. Waubonsee officers are stationed at the college's Sugar Grove and downtown Aurora campuses.

Finally, Waubonsee has made enhancements in helping students who are facing short-term or long-term mental health issues to overcome their challenges and succeed in and out of the classroom. Training and resources are available to faculty and staff to help students connect with what they need at any particular moment. Faculty and staff work to facilitate intervention before situations become a crisis.

Day-to-day, emergency situations rarely arise. However, Waubonsee continuously works to prepare and equip our college community to respond appropriately with safety in mind.

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