SSISD gets $25,000 to beef up security at two campuses
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Sept. 17, 2006 -- Sulphur Springs Independent School District will be beefing up its security system at Sulphur Springs High School and Middle School soon thanks to a $24,988 grant, and are applying for another $600,000 in grants targeted at keeping at-risk students in school by offering college credits.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn's office notified SSISD grants administrators Sept. 7 that the district had been selected to receive one of the 174 Safety Resource Grants awarded by the Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing to agencies in 38 states. The funding covers up to 50 percent of the total cost of installing crime deterrent equipment or the costs associated with security assessment and training.

SSISD will utilize the $24,988 grant to help purchase keyless entry locks for SSHS and SSMS, to purchase an additional security system, a laptop to facilitate community policing efforts, and to attend required regional and national training for emergency preparedness.

"We got a COPS [community oriented policing] grant before for security salaries, but not for this," Superintendent Patsy Bolton said earlier this week during the regular school board meeting.

Locks will be switched out with the keyless security system at SSMS and SSHS and possibly at two other campuses, officials noted Monday.

In addition to the Secure Our Schools Grant, district grant writers are preparing a grant proposal to submit which, if approved, will provide $600,000 over a three-year period for the Early College High School "Ace It!" program. The district is asking for $120,000 the first year for planning and start-up funds to "enable more students to participate in dual credit courses and improve a seamless transition from high school to the college setting." The district is asking for $240,00 per year for the second and third years of the program to "provide accelerated instruction for 400 students per school year."

The goal is to give at-risk and economically disadvantaged students a chance to enroll in classes which would allow them to complete an associate's degree or up to 60hours of college credit toward a baccalaureate degree during their high school career. "Ace It!" would serve 100 freshmen during its first year and 400 students the second and third years.

The Ace It! program would be in addition to current advanced placement, college preparatory and concurrent enrollment classes, funded with the $275 allocated per student in House Bill 1.

In other money matters, Richard Crump with Claycomb Associates, Architects reported that $453,000 of the $1.79 million in bond money allocated for the addition at Early Childhood Learning Center have been spent so far, and $798,000 of the $5.359 million allocated for the SSHS project has been utilized. Both projects are progressing on schedule, with 14 percent of the work completed at SSHS and 21 percent finished at ECLC.

At ECLC, construction crews have finished installation of site utilities, installed temporary site construction fencing, added striping to aid with traffic flow in the north parking lot, installed temporary fire exit walks, finished installing playground equipment and mulch, finished grade beam installation on the north addition and had begun putting in grade beams on the south side. Later this month, the grade beams on the south wing will be finished, the structural floor steel on both wings installed, the floor slab on the north side finished and work started on the south side.

At the high school, the temporary construction site fencing has beeninstalled and storm sewer installation completed. They had also finished the installation of the remaining grade beams at the band hall and science wing, finished the structural steel at the band hall, put up some of the floor steel in the science wing, had installed some underfloor plumbing, and poured the band hall addition floor slab. Construction crews had also started the site sanitary sewer installation. This month, the site utilities and installation of the floor steel at the science wing are to be completed. Masonry at the band hall addition and construction of the tilt-wall panels are to begin before October.

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