Bloomingdale Elementary School to get security upgrades, too

SARANAC LAKE — The Saranac Lake Central School District has approved use of grant money for security upgrades to Bloomingdale Elementary School.

The district was awarded near $800,000 in 2018 for technology upgrades through the Smart Schools Bond Act. The 2014 state ballot initiative set aside $2 billion to pay for technology and infrastructure to improve learning and opportunity for New York students.

“We have currently done a project that has been approved for approximately $620,500,” Superintendent Diane Fox said at Wednesday night’s school board meeting.

This project, approved in the beginning of 2018, included high-tech cameras, door security and remote facility lockdown capability, among other functionality, for Saranac Lake High School and Petrova Elementary School.

The estimated cost for the same security upgrades at Bloomingdale is around $127,500, according to the SLCSD Preliminary Smart Schools Investment Plan.

To propose this use of the grant money, the school district needed to hold a public hearing at 5 p.m. on Wednesday. No one except SLCSD staff, board members and the Enterprise showed up.

“It includes establishing one security access control and visitor system at Bloomingdale school that would integrate security cameras access control and public address systems,” Fox said.

Upgrades to the other two schools will start in the late spring and complete in the summer of this summer of this year. Tetratech, the firm installing the upgrades, estimates implementation and construction at Bloomingdale to happen between June 2020 and August 2020.

Between the three projects, there will be around $50,000 left in the Smart Schools fund.

“It does leave us with a little bit extra in the budget; however, when you approved you can actually have access to 20 percent of those funds in case you want to do something additional,” Fox said, “and already that’s happened.”

This has included adding more cameras to under-served areas at the other two schools.

“I think, between the two projects,” Fox said, “we will have fully spent our Smart Schools budget.”

According to the investment plan, the replacement cycle for these upgrades is eight to 10 years. As they break down, they will be added to the annual technology budget. Maintenance costs will be budgeted through a shared-service agreement with the Board of Cooperative Educational Services.