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Lincoln-Way plans $1 million for safety projects at its three high schools

The Lincoln-Way Community High School District 210 Board of Education is planning about $1 million on building projects officials say will address safety in all three of its buildings.

Those projects include a new public address system, bells, and critical incident communication system in all three buildings.

They were outlined as part of the district’s 10-year capital improvement plan and planned for fiscal year 2021.

Other capital improvements presented at a recent school board meeting include stadium turf and outdoor track resurfacing at Lincoln-Way West in New Lenox, out building renovations at Lincoln-Way Central in New Lenox and Lincoln-Way East in Frankfort, roofing repairs at Central, weight room renovations at East, refinishing the main gym floors at Central and East, and installing paths to baseball and softball fields at Lincoln-Way West.

“Stronger budgetary management and three consecutive years of budget surplus have allowed Lincoln-Way 210 to reinvest in capital projects over the past couple of years,” Superintendent Scott Tingley said in a statement.

The board will decide in February or March of 2020 as to how to proceed with the update to the public address system, bells, and critical incident communication system in the three buildings, officials said. The current system is at the end of its lifecycle, officials said.

Jen Hannon, director of community relations for the district, said the district does not foresee any problems with waiting until next year to complete the update.

“They are still in use,” she said. “We are just updating them.”

The district already has made security upgrades to entrances at the East and Central campuses.

Hannon said Lincoln-Way West is a newer building, so the main entrance hasn’t required an update.

Also this summer, new locks were installed on every door of all three buildings.

“Every staff member and teacher has a universal key that will lock any classroom from the inside,” Hannon said. “If you’re walking down the hallway, and something is happening, and you see that, you can grab a group students into any classroom and lock that door from the inside.”

Every staff member working in the district’s buildings has a key card, and each one is equipped with different access levels.

Another new safety element at the schools are security cameras with updated software that have analytical capabilities to track particular people across the building and identify them based on clothing color or other physical characteristics, Hannon said.

“They’re all inside,” she said. “I would say those security cameras are going to be big help for the inside. Those were done over the past summer. Everything’s needs to be upgraded to the new system. It’s new technology.”

Hannon said school safety starts with people.

“We have a school resource officer inside all our buildings, as well,” she said.

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