Added security

Guard eyed while construction underway at school

REGION 16 — As the start date of construction at Laurel Ledge School in Beacon Falls draws closer, officials are looking into adding an extra layer of security for students during the project.

Board of Education member Robert Hiscox, who is also a member of the school building committee overseeing the building project, has suggested the board explore hiring a temporary security guard at the school for the time construction coincides with school being in session.

The security guard would be “another adult presence, full-time presence, to ensure greater safety for the students down there,” said Hiscox, who raised the idea at the board’s May 28 meeting.

The board asked Director of Finance and Business Operations Pamela Mangini to put together a proposal to hire a security guard for its next meeting.

The work at Laurel Ledge School is part of a three-pronged building project in the region that includes a new elementary school and district office in Prospect. In December 2011, voters in Region 16, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect, approved bonding up to $47.5 million for the project. The district will be reimbursed by the state about 68 percent on eligible costs.

The crux of the Laurel Ledge project is building corridors to connect the buildings at the campus-style school. The work also includes renovating two bathrooms and construction of a new science room. Construction is expected to begin in July.

The work at Laurel Ledge is scheduled to be complete by September 2015, which means construction will be occurring while school is in session. Officials are working with Laurel Ledge Principal Regina Murzak and building officials in Beacon Falls to develop a construction plan.

Hiscox said the security guard could be used to ensure students are safe walking to buildings and around construction zones and to help manage traffic, among other jobs. He emphasized he’s not suggesting a permanent position.

Board member Nazih Noujaim suggested officials look into hiring the guard through a temp agency.

The idea was met with no initial opposition among the board, which now waits for the proposal from Mangini before making a decision.

“Safety is of course our number one paramount issue,” interim Superintendent of Schools Gail Gilmore said.

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