RLC awarded $102K school security grant to upgrade safety features

RLC awarded $102K school security grant to upgrade safety features

INA, IL (KFVS) - Rend Lake College will soon be enhancing security features across campus with the help of $102,738 from the Illinois School Security Grant Program and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

Announcements were made Tuesday of grants totaling $25 million in funds to public K-12 and community colleges across the state. Jo Ann Dick, Coordinator of Special Projects at RLC, said the college will use the money to install locks on the inside of doors and to place more security cameras across campus.

"The main things we wanted were door locks for inside doors on all buildings, in classrooms, offices, and restrooms," Dick said. "We're also upgrading our security system with new cameras inside some buildings and some exterior ones too."

Damon Sims, Assistant Chief of Security, said there will be 127 new locks installed on campus, in addition to 29 new cameras. The security server also will be replaced with grant money to improve picture quality and reviewing abilities, and key card entry will be added to some buildings for faculty and staff. Another safety upgrade RLC officials are considering completing without grant funds are security blinds in more classrooms to block the view from an outside hallway.

"Once we get the agreement from IEMA, we can start on these projects," Sims said. "We're expecting everything to come through May 16, so we'll get started on it soon."

The grant funds will be spent updating several buildings on campus, including the Academic Building, Administration Building, Advanced Technology Building, Applied Science Center, Science Building, Coal Mine Training Center, Learning Resource Center, Theatre and Vocational Building.

Chief of Police Gary McGill added, "These security features will help keep our students safer locked inside a classroom from the outside in case something were to happen. The program is about keeping students a little bit safer, and that's our goal too."

The project at RLC is just one of 1,312 projects at 448 schools and college campuses in Illinois. The purpose of the grant program was to establish a starting point security system at every school in the state.

"Nothing is more important in Illinois than keeping our schools safe," Governor Pat Quinn said during the grant announcements Tuesday. "These projects will strengthen security at main entry points, providing school personnel with critical moments to alert law enforcement, activate plans to protect students and save lives."

IEMA received applications totaling more than $54 million from 623 school districts and campuses, or about 2,200 projects.

"Our top priority for funding was to help schools establish a baseline security capability through such measures as reinforced doors, shatter-resistant glass and physical locks at primary public entrances," said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. "These are the types of security enhancements experts say can buy valuable time for schools to implement emergency plans."

To see the complete list of schools receiving funds from the Illinois School Security Grant Program, you can click here.

To learn more about the grant at RLC, contact JoAnn Dick at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1337.

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