A handful of Natrona County School District buildings — including the county’s four high schools — are likely to receive new security cameras as part of the district’s push to improve school safety.
The school board will vote Wednesday on whether to approve a bid from APi Systems Integrators to install cameras at Kelly Walsh, Natrona County High, Roosevelt, the Pathways Innovation Center, Casper Classical Academy, Dean Morgan and Midwest.
The bid, which Superintendent Steve Hopkins is recommending the board approve, is for $206,975. A competing bid of $350,233 was submitted by Comtronix.
Tom Ernst, the district’s safe schools director, said the additions of the cameras is part of the district’s “ongoing process ... to make sure that schools are secure.”
“I don’t think it’s necessarily a response to anything recently,” he added, when asked if the addition of the cameras was a result of recent violence in American schools.
In February and again in May, students and staff were gunned down in high-profile attacks in U.S. high schools. After the first shooting, in Parkland, Florida, the school district undertook a public examination of its school safety measures and later unveiled a 10-part plan to improve and streamline its protocols.
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At least some if not all of the schools already have cameras. Ernst wasn’t familiar with the specifics of the bid and wasn’t sure if the new system would replace or supplement the existing cameras, but he noted that because some of the buildings are new, so are their cameras.
A message left for the district’s project manager was not returned Thursday afternoon.
The school board will also vote whether to accept a $361,501 bid for the former Grant Elementary School building. The bid was made by David Dewald and is over the $344,250 appraised value of the building, which is located off of 15th Street, east of Casper College. Hopkins recommended that the board accept the bid.
Dewald did not return a message seeking comment Thursday afternoon.
Grant Elementary closed in June 2017 amid declining enrollment. The district closed four more schools earlier this year.