School safety grant helps with new cameras: SGCS able to purchase more than expected

CHURUBUSCO — A $50,000 matching grant from the state is making it possible for Smith-Green Community Schools to upgrade 46 security cameras and add 52 more.

The School Safety Grant began in 2013 and has awarded more than $39 million in matching grants to Indiana school districts to address potential safety threats and help them prepare. Through this year, 1,129 grant requests were approved by the Indiana Secured School Grant Board.

Originally, the district expected to be able to purchase 35-40 cameras. Through working with two competing companies, Smith-Green was able to more than double that estimate, and add additional materials to overhaul the security system.

Superintendent Dan Hile said the upgrades are “long overdue.”

“We’ve had a camera system for awhile, but there’s areas of concerns for us and law enforcement,” Hile said.

The current cameras were outdated and the video quality was poor, making it more difficult to identify who was in the picture.

The new cameras will have four megapixels, while the current cameras are 1 megapixel. The new cameras will also have other features, such as the ability to zoom in.

Along with the cameras, the school will purchase a 43-inch display unit and all hardware and software needed for the upgrade.

The cost of $104,000 was approved by the school board, $50,000 of which will be covered by the matching grant.

Areas of focus for cameras are the elementary school and the gymnasiums. There will also be new outdoor cameras.

Smith-Green’s maintenance department is helping the district to save money by running all the cables.

“I’m grateful the state offers these matching grants to make these improvements and offset costs,” Hile said. “It’s becoming too regular that we’re seeing tragedies in the news. I’m glad they’re putting priority in the safety of our buildings.”

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