Clark State gets $324K to improve safety on its campuses

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Clark state to make security upgrades

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Security upgrades will be made at Clark State Community College campuses across the Miami Valley after the state approved money to improve communication between the school and local law enforcement agencies.

The Ohio Controlling Board approved a nearly $324,000 request from the community college on Monday, according to board secretary Teresa Goodridge. Clark State will use that money to upgrade the phone systems, purchase hand-held radios and add notification beacons and security cameras, Clark State President Jo Alice Blondin said.

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The upgrades will be made at the college’s campuses in Clark, Greene and Logan counties, she said.

“This is really about strengthening the communications between our emergency responders and Clark State, as well as making sure that the campus is secure and safe on a daily basis,” Blondin said.

When someone dials 9-1-1 from the school’s current phone system, she said, a general address is visible to dispatchers. A software upgrade will make the address more specific, allowing first responders to have a better idea where the caller is located.

“There’s really kind of almost a GPS quality to what we’re upgrading our phones,” she said.

Hand-held radios would allow Clark State emergency response teams to better respond in a case of an emergency, according to the college’s request sent to the controlling board. The radios also will be able to communicate with Springfield city police, firefighters and medics who would might respond to campus emergencies.

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The notification beacons would be mounted on the walls, the request says, and would sound an alarm during an emergency and have a written message.

Many of the older buildings on campus have no security cameras, the request says, and the upgrades will provide consistent coverage of all entrances. The goal is to monitor every building entrance and every identified area of money exchange with cameras, according to the college’s funding request.

The campus also needs some infrastructure upgrades in order to install the new equipment, such as additional computer servers and cabling, the request says.

“We’re going to be even safer than we already are,” Blondin said.

Jessica Mattox, a student at the Clark County community college campus, said she believes she’s safe at school, but supports any security upgrades.

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“I don’t think anybody would be against doing more security,” she said.

She's worried by school shootings in the news, she said, like the one at West Liberty-Salem High School in January where one student was shot and seriously injured and another grazed.

“This world’s gone nuts honestly,” she said. “We definitely need it and at all schools.”

Clark State will move forward with plans to purchase the new equipment immediately, Blondin said.

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