District 233 will consider updating security doors

A new security system that will limit door access at Homewood-Flossmoor High School got the green light from members of the District 233 Finance Committee at its meeting Feb. 7. The full board is expected to review the proposal at its Feb. 21 meeting.

The switch will eliminate pass keys to open and lock doors.

The proposal from Steve Richardson, director of information technology, calls for 32 entry point doors that would get an auto lock system. Richardson said the doors will be tied into the school’s security cameras.

“We wanted something that would work with the existing and future security camera systems, that would give us a lot of capability like a panic button, lockdown capability, but also the ability to know who is in and out of our building at odd hours,” he said.

“If a door lock is triggered it would turn on the camera system to follow that person” in the building, Richardson explained. After school hours, it gives security the ability to buzz in guests, students and staff.

The system works with smart phones. Select administrators will be able to gain access to the buildings once the doors are locked. Richardson’s staff and security staff will work on who will have that type of access. The system also will allow for turning off access to specific persons, if necessary. 

“We’ll be spearheading the process as far as learning the system and how to use it, the templates to define that but also conversations with HR and Athletics for who needs access,” Richardson told committee members Gerald Pauling, Steve Anderson and Pam Jackson. 

“Anything that deals with security, I’m all about it,” Jackson said. “It’s a necessity.” Pauling and Anderson agreed with her assessment.

With the new system, Richardson said H-F will “stop using those keys that have been given out and go to electronic control.” His team would have access to the system from anywhere at any time. 

Other features of the system include notifying security if a door is propped open for more than 10 seconds, and link to motion and light sensors.

“The technology really solves a lot of the manpower issues, and (has) a lot of capabilities going forward,” Richardson said.

This first phase of security upgrades is expected to cost about $150,000. There are no supply chain issues, Richardson said. Once the board approves the upgrades, the work can begin. This upgrade was not a budgeted expense, but Lawrence Cook, business manager for the district, said the expense could be covered.

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