One priority for almost every school and district engaged in construction is student safety.

Anderson Community Schools, for instance, has completed secured entries at all its operational school buildings, except Anderson High School and Eastside Elementary School.

“We’re pretty much down to the final piece of that process,” said ACS Superintendent Timothy Smith.

Indiana Christian Academy spent about $80,000 on security improvements, including replacements for doors considered older and less secure, said the school’s administrator, Kevin Plew.

“They were secured by magnets but that magnet could be released and the door unlocked if someone walked too close to the door,” he said. “The new doors are no longer controlled by magnets, but have an interior locking mechanism that keeps them constantly locked. This provides constant security for our campus.”

ICA also installed an air gap door in the front of the building that allows people to get out of the elements while keeping the building secure, Plew said. In addition, the 40-year-old original windows were replaced with tinted windows that allow students and staff to see out while preventing people from looking in, he said.

Commander Jill Barker, superintendent at Anderson Preparatory Academy, said the school received a Secured School Safety Grant of about $50,000 through the Indiana Department of Homeland Security to update security doors, external doors and install security cameras throughout the two buildings. APA officials have applied for an additional grant of about $75,000 to update entryway doors.

Follow Rebecca R. Bibbs on Twitter at @RebeccaB_THB, or call 765-640-4883.

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