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Public hearing on proposed capital project draws no public

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BRASHER FALLS — A public hearing for a proposed $375,000 capital project to address security issues at St. Lawrence Central School drew no one Tuesday evening.

Superintendent Stephen M. Putman and board of education members were on hand to discuss the project, but the hearing lasted less than 10 minutes with the only discussion being a quick overview of their plan by Mr. Putman.

Under the proposal, visitors will need to sign in at the schools, and classroom doors would be locked from the inside. Most of the doors can now be locked only from the outside.

School officials originally planned to beef up security with cameras. But after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., they decided to take additional precautions by proposing a capital project that would provide more secure entrances to the schools and changes to door locks in classrooms.

Requiring visitors to sign in will mean some changes in the way the entrances to the schools are configured. The elementary and high school buildings are configured with outside and inside doors prior to entering the school. Under the proposed plan, visitors would still be able to gain entry to the schools through the outside doors, but would need to check in with a secretary before the inside set of doors would be unlocked.

As part of the project, the district will create a window between the two sets of doors at the high school and elementary and a slot where visitors can provide their identification before entering the school. The entrance to the middle school will not be accessible during the day.

“The high school entrances don’t require much change,” Mr. Putman said.

At the elementary building, however, the doors will be moved further toward the cafeteria, giving the room needed to monitor visitors and sign them in.

They will also need to reconfigure the elementary office area to relocate the secretary to a conference and meeting room.

Mr. Putman said he had fielded questions about the plans to allow classroom doors to be locked from the inside. There were concerns, he said, that classroom occupants would not be able to exit from the door in case of emergency and that would be against the code which requires two means of egress.

Voter approval for the project is necessary because it’s an additional cost to their current project. The district is eligible for 98 percent state aid on the project and still has EXCEL aid remaining to cover the other 2 percent.

The vote will be from 1 to 7 p.m. April 9 in the high school gym lobby.

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