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Helmut Schmidt, Published February 24 2014

West Fargo decides to spend $142,700 to upgrade school security

WEST FARGO – The West Fargo School District will upgrade security at its schools this year.

School Board members voted 6-0 Monday to spend $142,700 to add systems so office personnel can control access at several of the district’s schools.

The systems, which will be installed by Dakota Electric Construction of Fargo, include video cameras, intercoms and remote-controlled locks, Business Manager Mark Lemer said. Panic buttons that automatically dial 911 will also be added, he said.

Several schools already have entries that funnel visitors into the office to gain entry to the building.

They are in the middle and high schools, Aurora and Freedom elementary schools, and Independence Elementary, which opens this fall, Lemer said.

Aurora Elementary will get a remote entry system, just because of the unique setup of its entry. Harwood Elementary also has a controlled entry, but the new system will be added there so office personnel don’t have to physically open the door for visitors, Lemer said.

The controlled entry systems will be installed at L.E. Berger, Eastwood, Westside, South and Horace elementary schools, and the Osgood and Clayton A. Lodoen kindergarten centers, Lemer said.

South Elementary will have the wooden inner doors in the main entry replaced “with something more modern,” Lemer said. That will cost $7,000.

Other building projects approved include:

E Spending $107,780 with Grant’s Mechanical of Fargo to upgrade two generators to new federal emissions standards. The district will also pay $6,916 for five years of compliance testing.

E Paving improvements at several schools. The winning base bid for the projects was $506,600. With the inclusion of several alternate bids – seal coating lots at West Fargo High School and Lodoen, fixing sidewalks at L.E. Berger, replacing curbing at Eastwood, and removing and replacing some parking at South – the total rises to $568,700.

Aggregate Industries of Moorhead was the winning bidder.

The three projects will cost the district $833,096, or $71,904 less than had been budgeted, Lemer said.

In other business, the board voted 6-0 to have administrators seek proposals to do a comprehensive salary study for all classified support staff.

Human Relations Director Robin Hill said classified staff do a wide range of jobs, including food service, information technology, social workers and bus drivers.

Hill said a formal study has not been done in at least 20 years.

The requests for proposals will seek costs for the study to be done with just the West Fargo School District, and for a combined study with the Fargo School District, Hill said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583