Over the last several years, the Guilderland Central School District has made a significant investment in the safety and security of our students, staff and families. In light of the recent school shooting in Nashville, we want to assure members of the GCSD community that Guilderland schools are safe spaces with robust security measures in place for various emergencies.
Capital project security improvements over the years
Many of the district’s safety and security improvements stem from capital projects approved in 2013, 2019 and 2021. These include camera upgrades, monitoring of visitor tracking systems, installation of protective film on windows and doors, among others. These improvements were imperative to maintaining a secure learning environment in all GCSD spaces and creating a welcoming climate where all school community members feel safe.
2013 Capital Project
On Nov. 14, 2013, GCSD voters approved a capital project proposal totaling $17.3 million with approximately $1.5 million dedicated to enhancing the district’s safety and security. The project featured the following improvements:
- Construction of secure vestibules
- Installation of security film at secure vestibules and adjacent windows
- Expansion of interior/exterior camera system and card reader installations at exterior doors
- Implementation of visitor management and audio/video doorbell systems
- Replacement of classroom and office door locksets with intruder series classroom and office door hardware
2019 Capital Project
GCSD residents voted to approve the district’s $30.9 million capital project on May 21, 2019 with $1.9 million allocated towards safety improvements. The project included the subsequent upgrades to each school:
- Implementation of VOIP phone and voice/notification systems
- Installation of security film on glass on additional exterior doors and sidelights
- Expansion of interior/exterior camera system
- Replacement of elementary toilet room locksets with intruder series door hardware
2021 Capital Project
On October 7, 2021 GCSD voters approved a $21.8 million capital project with $80,358 reserved for security upgrades. With these funds, the district upgraded the interior/exterior camera system at each school and expanded the number of areas covered.
A closer look at GCSD safety & security
Cameras: There are 278 security cameras located throughout the district; some are equipped to cover different views of district properties. This summer, GCSD will upgrade its camera software platform to integrate directly with the district’s door access system. This will streamline the review process of video footage, as well as monitor controlled doors. The system will also automatically report any control issues with the camera or door systems. Furthermore, the Guilderland Police Department (GPD) has direct access to the system in the event of an emergency.
Doors and windows: GCSD has a door access control system districtwide. Swipe cards are required to access various entrances at all buildings. If there’s an emergency, exterior doors are labeled for first responder protocol. This allows the district to instruct emergency personnel to the emergency, shortening response time. Protective film has also been installed on exterior door windows at all buildings, preventing glass from shattering in the event of an attempted breach.
Single points of entry and monitoring of visitors: GCSD has an established presence within the community and welcomes visitors at its buildings for certain events. GCSD utilizes a visitor management system throughout the district, which syncs with the national sex offender database. Staff also controls a single point of visitor entry at each school; this is part of the district’s camera system and retains visitor video footage at building entrances.
Notification of emergencies & the response: Over the past year, GCSD has installed and continues to refine a software system specifically designed for our emergency procedures. A building can initiate a shelter-in-place, lockout or lockdown by entering a code into any district phone or by manually pushing a button located in the main offices. This action automatically contacts first responders and district administrators, as well as displays a message on all LED signs. Grab and go buckets and emergency flip charts are also provided for all occupied spaces.
Safety drills: Every year, safety drills are conducted at each school building to ensure our students and staff know what to do in an emergency situation. These include fire, go home early, and lockdown drills. The number of drills conducted by schools are determined each year by the New York State Education Department.