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State antes up funds for Roane State security

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By Cindy Simpson

The Tennessee Building Commission last week approved $306,000 for Roane State Community College to extend security upgrades to its campuses, including the main campus in Roane County.

“In this day and age, unfortunately, there are increasing numbers of incidents and threats to educational institutions,” Roane State President Chris Whaley said.

“We want to take every step we possibly can to increase security for Roane State students, faculty and staff and for community members,” he added.

“We are greatly appreciative to the Building Commission and the legislature for these funds, which will help us achieve the goal of providing the safest possible education environment that we can.”

A release from the college said the additional $306,000 will put Roane State’s investment in security at $750,000 since 2010.

The security upgrades have occurred in two phases. Phase one, completed in 2012, involved security upgrades at the main campus near Harriman. That $440,000 project added an extensive surveillance camera system and electronic access to building exterior doors.

The additional funds will allow for the completion of phase two, similar security upgrades at Roane State’s eight additional locations.

Upgrades include adding cameras in buildings and parking lots and installing electronic access to the doors.

“The systems at the eight campuses will be integrated and compatible with the system at the main campus,” a release said.

This phase is expected to be completed by summer 2014.

In addition to the money spent on security upgrades, the college has recently upgraded its fire alarm system at the main campus.

“The $425,000 project integrated the system with Roane State’s phone system, allowing someone to use their phone to broadcast an emergency message through the fire alarm speakers,” according to the release.

Campuses in Cumberland, Fentress, Scott, Morgan, Campbell, Loudon and Knox counties have emergency notification systems that can be activated through the phone system as well. The college plans to install a similar system at the Oak Ridge campus.

The college also spent $25,000 to purchase police radios.

“Direct connection to local law enforcement will allow Roane State
officers to provide vital real-time information to emergency responders,” the release said.

State Rep. Kent Calfee praised the State Building Commission for the upgrades.

“I’m very pleased to see that the state Building Commission has
expanded these pro-
jects for Roane State,” he said.

“Approval of these security upgrades shows a commitment from state officials that Roane State is, and will continue to be, a vital piece of our state education system,” the Kingston Republican added.