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University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Feb. 11, 2009) – With a high priority on the safety of its students, faculty and staff, UCM announces several special projects that will contribute to an even more secure campus environment.
Improvements being launched this semester will lead to more timely notification of the campus community in emergency situations, the ability to better secure classrooms, and enhanced outdoor lighting, according to the Department of Public Safety. The projects were recommended by the Strategic Planning and Resource Council. The university is paying for them with funds that were carried over from the previous fiscal year to help address deferred maintenance and repair projects and campus security priorities.
Multi-layered Campus Notification System
One of the priorities is the installation of a multi-layered campus notification system. Larry Province, safety manager, said the university is preparing a request for proposals to create a system that offers the capability of verbal announcements over outdoor sirens, public address in academic facilities, automatic voice messaging by telephone, text messaging, alerts via email, and alerts on campus computers.
“We want a ‘one-button’ activation system,” Province said. “For example, if there’s a tornado warning, we’ll use everything connected to the system to let the campus know about it.” The university hopes to have the system in place by the start of the fall 2009 semester.
Securing Classrooms in Academic Buildings
Modification of doors in academic buildings to prevent intruders from entering classrooms is another priority. Kim Vansell, police/community services sergeant, said at least 285 classroom doors will be modified to remain locked at all times. Doors will be accessible by key, but cannot be left in the unlocked position. Although people inside the room will be able to leave as needed, individuals cannot enter from the outside unless they have a key or someone inside the room opens the door.
“The recommendation to faculty using classrooms will be to keep the classroom doors closed – and therefore secure – while class is in session,” Vansell said. “In the event of an armed intruder, faculty and staff will have the option to secure in place.” The Department of Public Safety will work with academic departments regarding the issuance of keys to classrooms, and to address any other issues related to this change. Modifications to classroom doors should be completed prior to the start of the fall semester.
Training for Faculty, Staff and Students
In addition to these special projects, Vansell said the department plans to initiate Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate (ALICE) training for faculty, staff and students. Some training could begin this spring.
“When security and defense measures fail, we must provide options. There are things employees and students can do against an armed intruder,” Vansell said. “In these situations, they are the first responders. Our goal is to equip employees and students with more options that work in ‘real’ situations.”
Improved Outdoor Lighting
Another project scheduled to take place simultaneously with door modifications and the enhanced campus emergency notification system will be improved outdoor lighting. Vansell said a survey regarding night-time lighting was conducted by the Department of Public Safety and the Facilities Planning Office, which has identified areas where lighting could be improved.