The Groton School District began this week installing entry systems at front doors that allow the school receptionist to see who’s there, talk to the visitor, and then unlock the door from the office desk.
School Facilities Director William Robarge said contractors began installing the system, called Aiphone, at Mary Morrisson Elementary last week, and will repeat the process at Groton’s other ten schools.
He explained how it works. “What this piece does is allow the receptionist to be at her desk with the front doors locked. A visitor pushes the doorbell, and up pops a display on the administrator’s desk saying there a visitor. They can see who’s out there and they can speak from the desk and confirm that there’s an appointment before they actually open the door,” he said.
The entry system will also be installed at doors where students enter from portable classrooms.
The plan is to finish the entry system at all schools, then go back and install other security equipment like cameras at outdoor areas like playgrounds, a panic button in the office, and card readers for students and staff entering buildings.
The school department was able to complete the electrical wiring itself, which cut the cost by one-third, Robarge said. All the security systems combined will cost $196,000, he said.
Robarge said he toured Stonington High School, which is relatively new, to observe its security and learned about Aiphone there. He also toured all Groton schools in partnership with town police to determine where additional security was needed.
All systems are expected to be completed and tested within three months.