UPDATE: SBA Approves Additional Funding for School Safety

By: The Associated Press; Andrew Colegrove Email
By: The Associated Press; Andrew Colegrove Email

UPDATE 9/16/13 @ 12:30 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The School Building Authority is taking steps forward to make schools safer in West Virginia.

During a meeting Monday, the board approved an increase in the school construction square footage formula. The board will now pay additional $3 per square foot for new construction projects.

The extra money will provide funds for new safety features including shattered proof glass, a mantrap and controlled entries on all doors. The board also wants new schools to be built in a way that the office has a clear view of the parking lot at all times.

If a school is currently under construction, some of these safety features will be added.

The board wanted to approve this measure before it accepts new bids from school systems in December.

UPDATE 3/5/13 @ 10 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP, WSAZ) - West Virginia officials want shatterproof glass for front entrances at all new schools following the murders of 20 elementary students and six adult staff by a gunman in Connecticut.

School Building Authority Executive Director Mark Manchin told lawmakers Tuesday he's proposing applying a special film made by 3M to all glass at front entries. The agency meets Monday.

Manchin said the material won't stop a bullet, but he said an agency official both shot and kicked a window covered by the film and it didn't shatter.

Wil Scarbo owns Pro Tint in Huntington and sells the sort of film Manchin is talking about.

“If this is in a school and somebody tries to break the window, they wouldn't be able to get through," Scarbo said.

Scarbo says the product doesn't stop bullets, but it does stop glass from shattering, which is how the shooter at Newtown got into that school so quickly.

Scarbo just installed the film at Kinder Kare Daycare in Proctorville last week.

Jim Murphy is the chairman of the daycare board.

"It's a shame you have that today, but it's the modern world we live in," Murphy said.

Manchin says they're also looking at possibly adding the film on ground level windows, and he'd like to see the legislature help provide money to put the film in older schools as well, but doing that would be much more expensive.

A safety manager at the Cabell County Board of Education says different types of that film cost around 5 to 15 dollars per square foot.

Manchin says they wouldn't necessarily need additional funds for putting it in the front entrance of new schools because the cost could be absorbed in the existing budget.

This new policy could go into effect as soon as next month, Manchin says.

Lawmakers also learned that all new schools will have a panic button in the principal's office that will lock down the building and dial 911.

Manchin said the parking lot and front entrance will also be in sight of the administrative office.

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