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Alcona Community Schools receiving new key and lock system thanks to state grant

The hope is to have a new key and door system installed throughout the schools by June of 2019.

Lincoln — Alcona Community School District received a 247,519 grant from Michigan State Police to make upgrades in safety and security.

In total, 25 million dollars were distributed to schools and education districts all over Michigan. Alcona received one of the largest in the state. The school district applied for a similar grant a few years ago with less dollars in the mix but was ultimately unsuccessful.

The plan is to utilize all of the funding for upgrading the keys and doors within the schools. Since buildings range from old to brand new, some doors are newer while others have been around for decades.

“If you would talk to our maintenance director and you ask him to show you the keys, you know he would have to hold it with two hands,” said Superintendent Dan O’Connor.

The goal is to synchronize all of the keys and doors, so faculty and staff can easily access a classroom in case of if a situation would unfold and doors needed to be locked or opened.

“This should expatiate any kind of process if there was an emergency or the need to get into a classroom,” said O’Connor.

First, an expert consultant will be hired to help with what the school needs and what makes sense. Bids will be prepared in December, and the school district will review bids from contractors in January. The goal is to have the new system installed in June of 2019 before school starts up again.

“We know it’s a lot of responsibility because we hope to set up a system that will be here for a long, long time and not put us in the same spot where we are right now,” said O’Connor.

The system could be key-less or a true key system. Whatever the decision, the ultimate goal is student safety. Alcona has taken strides in creating a safer environment for students whether that be surveillance cameras or a sign in system. O’Connor is confident that Alcona will continue to build on their safety practices and with this grant, a chance to secure internal systems before focusing on more upgrades.

“We want to keep working toward this, we know we want to reassure that students are safe and we’re doing everything we can internally, in-house as well to improve our procedure.”