County schools continue to upgrade security

By Lauren Williams Staff Writer

January 23, 2014

Sampson County Schools has made great strides in increasing its security over the past few months and more security upgrades and additions are in the works, according to central office personnel.

In a presentation to county school board members during a work session Tuesday morning, Dr. Wesley Johnson, director of Digital Literacy and Accountability, shared that numerous projects have already been completed to increase security at a number of the system’s schools.

Those finished projects, with a total price tag of over $90,000, include installing five additional access control doors to Midway Middle’s facility and adding cameras to Midway Elementary and the Early Childhood Development Center, all of which was completed back in August. By early November, 16 cameras had been installed at Union Intermediate while 21 cameras were added to Hobbton High and six cameras were added to Roseboro-Salemburg Middle a month later.

More of the same is planned, noted Johnson, mentioning that most of the quotes — coming from Security IP solutions, LLC and Carolina Video Security, Inc. (CVSI) — for the future projects are in hand for central office personnel to consider.

Security projects that are in the works for the short-term include installing four more access control doors at Lakewood High School; six at Union Middle, Union Elementary, and Hobbton High; three at Midway Middle; and turning Plainview Elementary’s front office door into a buzzer entrance.

According to Johnson, Carolina Video Security, Inc. recently reexamined these projects per his request. explaining to the school board that the quotes from CVSI were significantly higher than other quotes due to the business’ inclusion of making “aesthetically pleasing changes” as part of the security upgrades. He noted that he has asked CVSI to re-submit their quotes, leaving off those changes.

In addition to installing access control doors and adding cameras which can be accessed by some central office personnel as well as law enforcement, entrance security walls are also in the process of being planned or constructed at four of the county schools.

Executive Director of Auxiliary Services Anthony Vann explained to school board members that while central office staff had anticipated an earlier completion date for the security wall project at Hargrove Elementary the project has since been delayed due to a measuring error made by the contractor.

“It’s being re-manufactured now,” said Vann, adding that the new installation date is set for Feb. 3.

Security wall construction — and eventually additional entrace renovations — are also scheduled for Midway Elementary, Roseboro-Salemburg Middle, and Union Middle in the near future.

Back in October, Vann showed school board members drawings of Midway Elementary and the proposed changes, sharing the system is looking into building an entrance vestibule where an office would be located and would house an assistant who would have to buzz in visitors in order for them to have access to the rest of the school.

Similar changes would also be made to Roseboro-Salemburg Middle School, he continued, like turning the existing conference area at the front of the school into a reception area where, again, a receptionist would have to buzz in visitors in order for them to gain access to the rest of the school.

At Union Middle School, which Vann then described as a “mirror image of Midway Elementary,” the proposed security changes involve moving the entrance to the left side of the school front due to the cafeteria being located to the right of the current entrance. A reception vestibule would be created across the front of the school, utilizing the existing reception window.

Per school board members’ questions on Tuesday, Vann added that more extensive security work is also planned for Roseboro-Salemburg Middle School, including enclosing the breezeway between the school’s main building and media center and adding an additional 360 camera to that area. The project will require students being out of school, he noted, citing a “waste water piping issue” that was discovered and will require attention before the security upgrades can be made.

“We need to cut a section out of the slab (of concrete) near the media center,” said Vann, explaining that the broken waste water line running beneath the slab will need to be accessed and capped off.

Although many projects are on the horizon, Johnson pointed out that the upgrades made thus far have “touched all districts.”

“I think we’ve made a lot of progress,” said interim superintendent Mike Warren.

Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at