Bridgeport schools talk security

BRIDGEPORT – Last November, the Bridgeport Exempted Village School District unveiled its latest safety measure – the NaviGate System.

Wednesday night during the district’s monthly board of education meeting, Wolfhurst Central VFD Fire Chief Matt Otto approached the panel and Superintendent Ted Downing about adding some additional cameras.

“The Wolfhurst VFD has used the NaviGate System for several months now and would like to offer recommendations as to where additional cameras could be beneficial,” Otto said in a prepared letter to the board.

There were six areas where he had some concerns, with the three HVAC rooms on the second level receiving the highest priority. The other three, in order of importance, are the first floor HVAC room; the main mechanical room in the area of the building on the first level; and the kitchen area, also on the first level.

“Understanding that the system was installed with student safety in mind, directly, what we’re looking at is to use it from a property protection standpoint,” he explained. “You’re looking (at the cameras) for students in the gymnasium, and we’re looking for fire in the air conditioning rooms, the mechanical rooms or the kitchen area.

“Your biggest cause for concern is the mechanical rooms where there are moving parts that can cause friction and ignite something,” he said.

Otto said he and his department would be willing to work with the district in an attempt to come up with some funding for the additional cameras.

Board member Don Cash asked Otto if he had ever looked into any type of grants for the project, to which Otto replied, “No. That is something I’ve never looked into. I know there’s been a lot going on with the camera system and I didn’t know what the school’s financial matters were.”

Otto said his main concern for the additional cameras is simple.

“That’s a very big building to get inside of to fight a fire and then come to find out that we underestimated it,” he added. “We’d like to be able to know what we’re getting into.”

Board president Roger Stewart thanked Otto for his concerns.

“We appreciate you coming in and the board will take this under advisement,” Stewart said. “We’ll talk with our technology people and see where we are and what kind of funds we’re looking at. Then we’ll make a decision and get back to you, probably within a month.”

Elsewhere, the 5-member panel approved drawing up a resolution that the state board of education considering moving the OAA and OGA Tests back due to the inclement weather.

“I had an email from the Elida School District and they passed a resolution doing it,” Downing said.

IN OTHER news, the board unanimously approved the following matters:

-waiving the January tuition fee for pre-school due to inclement weather;

– approving the retirements of Donald Suriano (35 years) and Charlene Pugh (25 years) effective May 30 and May 31, respectively;

– the hiring of Rod Hammer from volunteer assistant wrestling coach to paid assistant;

– the resignation of high school athletic director Doug Tush, effective at the end of the current school year.

The next board of education meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 18 at 6 p.m. It will be held in the school’s cafetorium.

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