By Stephen Seitz
BRANDON — Late in August, Gov. Phil Scott announced $4 million in grants so that Vermont schools could upgrade their security.
Among them was the Otter Valley Middle and High School in Brandon. Principal Jim Avery said the school received $25,000.
“What we’re going to do is have interactive classroom doors which can be locked from the inside,” he said. “We’ll also have a key swipe or fob for entry into the building.”
The Legislature passed the grant program during its spring session. According to the state’s announcement, the grants went to 239 different school systems.
“Purchases will include interior and exterior door locks, indoor and outdoor public address systems and other infrastructure upgrades to improve safety. Schools were eligible for up to $25,000 and will be responsible for a 25 percent grant match,” according to the statement.
Avery said that Otter Valley has two campuses, with the bulk of the funding going to the north campus.
“We’ll have keyless entry for the north campus,” said Avery. “We’ll also install an exterior public address system. We have an internal camera system already.”
According to the state, another $1 million will be made available for developing emergency plans, training, and safety exercises.
The statement quotes Scott as saying, “Getting these projects started quickly will help students, staff and administrators focus on learning. Looking ahead, we will continue to do all we can to enhance the safety of our schools for our children, parents, faculty and the community.”
Avery said there was no specific target date for completing the project.
“The paperwork just went through,” he said. “We want to get this done as quickly as possible.”
Other area school receiving grants are: Clarendon Elementary School: $24,018; Cavendish Town Elementary School: $10,821.75; Castleton-Hubbardton Union; $1,918.50; Mill River US #40: $15,111; Ottauquechee School: $23,475; Rochester School: $25,000; Rutland High School: $5,025; Rutland Intermediate School: $5,025; Rutland Middle School: $11,175; Rutland Town Elementary: $20,952.77; Wallingford Village School: $23,499; and West Rutland School:$13,903.31.