District 124 schools to get new security cams

By Jessie Molloy

Evergreen Park School District 124 will install new surveillance cameras at all five of its buildings, and as another security measure is considering reconfiguring the main entrance at Central Junior High School.

The District 124 board of education on Dec. 19 voted to approve the installation of the new cameras, awarding the winning bid of $44,800 to Precision Control Systems of Chicago. Most of the work will be finished this week while students are on winter break, and the fine tuning of the cameras and the accompanying computer system will be finished by Jan. 30, district officials said.

The new cameras are intended to provide better security in all the schools' high traffic areas, and footage will be recorded to a central computer system rather than to videotapes or DVDs.

The board also heard a proposal from FGM Architects' representative Mike Eichhorn for the reconstruction of the entrance-way at Central Junior High, 9400 Sawyer Ave. The district has for three years been considering ways to reconfigure the school's entrance to make access to student areas more difficult. Work is anticipated to begin planning this summer in conjunction with pipe replacement and roofing projects at Central and Northeast and Northwest elementary schools.

Board members agree the project is necessary, but there is some concern about the nearly $500,000 price tag - significantly more than the original estimate of about $300,000. A less streamlined version of the reconfiguration could be a cheaper alternative, but was not as well-received by board members. Another possibility is postponing the roof work at Northeast for another year or two to free up funds for the work at Central.

The board plans to review more detailed designs this month to get a better idea of the project's cost and scope. The board hopes to reach a decision this month so the project can go out to bid in February.