MAPS now set for security upgrades

SAUNDERS

MARQUETTE — The Marquette Area Public Schools Board of Education on Monday awarded a bid of $225,900 to Marquette-based Closner Construction for security upgrades in the school district.

MAPS Superintendent Bill Saunders said school security is a high priority in the district.

“We want to have warm welcoming buildings,” Saunders said. “We want to encourage interaction with the community. At the same time, we’re also focused on adding layers of security to best protect our students.”

He stressed physical security isn’t the only issue.

“We also need to focus on the mental well-being of our students,” Saunders said, “and that doesn’t happen through hardware and those type of things.”

He said the bid will allow for a secure vestibule for the office area at Marquette Alternative High School, although the full glass front wouldn’t be changed.

Saunders said there would be another set of doors inside that main vestibule.

“It would be much more secure. It directs traffic through the main office,” he explained.

The bid also will provide an Avigilon hardware system for Marquette Senior High School, Bothwell Middle School, and Superior Hills and Cherry Creek elementary schools.

“It will allow us to put (in) buzzers and lock doors from our main offices into the corridors,” Saunders said. “Right now we don’t have the ability to do that.”

However, the district already has that ability at Sandy Knoll and Graveraet elementary schools.

“There is some some bullet-proofing that comes with this that goes around the glass, so we still have nice glass see-through, but we would be able to knock out the glass around those doors to gain access to reach a handle on the other side,” Saunders said.

He acknowledged that’s a pricey component of the cost.

“This is expensive technology, but it starts us on a track that we have complete door-access control for our visitors,” said Saunders, who noted a button can be used to lock any door.

The doors also can be programmed to open or close at any time, he said.

The goal, Saunders noted, is to have the security system in place for every door in the school district.

Trustee Keith Glendon questioned if there was only one company bidding for the project.

Saunders said Closner Construction was the only bidder.

“I think a lot of local contractors are busy, and this is one of those that’s not real high end,” Saunders said. “It’s one of those ‘betweener’ type jobs. I think if it’s a million-dollar renovation or something, we’d probably have a little bit more, but in the $200,000 range, I think there’s not a lot of interest in that level.”

Since the bid was OK’d only on Monday, Saunders indicated he did not have a timeline for when construction would begin on the upgrades.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.