Locked out

Excerpt from The Franklin Press

A new door lock system could negate the need to renovate the lobbies of three Macon County schools to make them safer.

Macon County Schools Superintendent Chris Baldwin and facilities main- tenance director David Curtis showed Macon County Board of Education members an electronic access control system. The system entails an electronic lock with a camera, which can be opened by card key, key fob or entering a code on the lock’s keypad. Made by the company Paxton Access, the system also uses a dedicated phone that can be placed in the lobby. Someone entering the school without a code, card or fo

b, would push a call button on the lock. Inside, the phone, with a video screen, would ring. The employee in charge of answering the phone could then see and talk to the person outside and make the decision whether or not to let the person inside the school.

All locks at the schools would be tied to the district’s computer network system. Authorized personnel could lock the doors remotely if necessary.

Karl Gillespie, of National Communications Inc., who demonstrated the access system, said the locking system keeps a log of who enters the building.

A task force was assembled earlier this year to assess security issues at all schools in the district. The lobbies of

Cartoogechaye Elementary, South Macon Elementary and Nantahala School were found not to be configured in a manner that would keep unauthorized people from getting into the schools.

The cost of surveillance cameras and renovating the lobbies of the three schools is estimated at $40,000.

“By using these (Paxton locks instead of the cameras) there would not be a need to reconfigure the lobbies at Cartoogechaye, South Macon and Nantahala,” Baldwin said. “The savings could help pay for the locks.”