As part of the May 2017 Health, Safety and Modernization Bond, approximately $5 million dollars was allocated to upgrade school security systems across the district. That work is known as the Secure Schools Project. Work is now underway to begin the installation process of recommended security equipment in all of our schools and buildings. View the Security Projects FAQ here
Nature of the work
Student and staff safety is a primary concern for Portland Public Schools and the PPS Building Security team has developed a list of upgraded security measures that they will be using as they undertake the work. These items are based in part on national best practice recommendations that focus on securing school perimeters and controlling access:
- Electronic access control systems, including video intercoms and electronic locks at the main entrance of every school. This system gives school staff the ability to see who is at the front of the building, and control who may enter the site.
- Public address system speakers in the hallways, gym and external areas of schools as needed.
- New signage to direct school visitors to the main entry and require check-in at the main office.
- Additional fencing and gates may also be added depending on the needs of a school site and available funding.
The first step was to create a ranking system that identified the highest priority schools based on a number of factors. These criteria were developed by the PPS Security Work Group that is made up of multi-disciplinary representatives from PPS (including security, facilities, area directors and others) and the Portland Police Bureau’s Youth Services Division. With this input, we were able to prioritize which schools would be in the first construction package, which in the second, and which in the third.
The following eight criteria were developed to determine the order in which schools will be getting security upgrades.
- Occurrence of safety and security related incidents in the school.
- Crime statistics for the immediate surrounding community.
- Surrounding area environmental and geographical impacts on security including parks, high traffic corridors and transient camps.
- Schools with younger students and most vulnerable students will be ranked higher.
- School design and construction effects on security, with schools lacking robust access control ranked higher.
- Schools lacking an effective communication system will be ranked higher.
- Schools with poor office line-of-sight to the main entry will be ranked higher.
Schools with all security items already installed will not be on the install list.
The highest priority schools will receive work in the first phase of the security work. The remaining schools with priority levels at medium or below will all be addressed in subsequent phases.
Progress of Secure Schools Project
In order to address security work in the most efficient manner the project has been divided into three groups. Construction has begun on the first group of 26 schools and the second group of 31 schools. Procuring a construction contractor to complete the third group of 30 schools has proven to be a challenge despite considerable efforts by the project team to provide additional outreach to potential bidders. Design work for this third group is underway.
Hiring contractors in 2019/20
The projected work schedules on the security projects are subject to change based on contractor availability. The Portland construction market continues to see record growth, and qualified contractors remain in high demand. The district continues to work diligently to line up a number of qualified contractors for the bidding process in the Secure Schools Project.
Construction and implementation is set to begin in summer 2019 and continue through the school year until completed. The security work on all of the schools is set to be completed by Spring of 2020.