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Stevens High Renovation Project Includes Security Cameras

Claremont — The multi-million dollar renovation of Stevens High School now includes $43,000 in security cameras.

The committee overseeing the renovation voted Wednesday to use money from a contingency fund for the project to pay for interior video cameras that will monitor common areas including hallways, classroom, the gymnasium and the auditorium.

The decision brings the total cost for new security system to about $104,000.

Steve Horton, the school district’s representative on the $12.6 million project, told the committee Wendesday night that while all the cameras will record each area “24/7” and the recordings are saved for 30 days on the server, there is only one monitor to show any of the recording in real time.

“The majority (of cameras) won’t be manned,” Horton said.

Chairman Dave Putnam told the committee that the School Board made it clear at its meeting two weeks ago that interior cameras needed to be part of the security system.

“Cameras are important,” he said. “They help control behavior.”

Other features of the system include cameras at all exterior doors, alarms on the doors and panic buttons in the administration offices.

The committee also discussed issuing “smart cards” for students and staff to gain access to the building but did not reach a decision.

Committee member Rick Plourde, who works in maintenance at Stevens, said smart cards could be programmed to permit access to different areas of the building, depending on the card-holder.

“Smart cards are probably the best way to go,” Plourde said. “You can set them up for whoever the user is. It is a very versatile card.”

If the card is lost, Plourde said, it can be deleted from the server and a new card issued.

Also on Wednesday, Horton said the project is about 40 percent complete and there is $255,000 of the original $400,000 contingency fund left.

“We are trending pretty good,” Horton said.

Bobby Allen, the superintendent of the project with construction manager Trumbull-Nelson, said he is “cautiously optimistic” that the worst of the contamination problems — asbestos in particular — have been dealt with because workers started in the oldest part of the building. The abatement budget now stands at $450,000, or $200,000 more than originally anticipated.

The committee also voted to include new windows on the north, east and west side of the school (the south side is included in the original bond).

Members left open the possibility of not replacing windows on the second and third floors on the Middle Street side because they are less than 20 years old and new windows would have about the same insulation value, Horton said.

“They probably have about the same performance criteria as the ones you would be putting in,” Horton said. “It would be wasteful to take those windows out.”

Three of the four boilers are scheduled to removed over the next week as part of the Johnson Controls energy-saving project.

Allen said they have already taken out the old coal bunkers that were used on boilers that were installed in 1915. These four oil-fired boilers were installed when a large addition was built in 1929. The last boiler will be removed when the heating season is over.

Johnson Controls is installing a propane/wood pellet boiler to for heating at the school.

When students return to the school on April 28 after spring break, the front entrance will be closed for renovations and the new event entryway on the gymnasium will be the main entr

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@gmail.com.