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R. Roger Rowe’s Hazard and Vulnerability Assessment highlighted ways to heighten security while also mentioning how to target harden the school’s doors including solid wood front entry doors. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene.
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R. Roger Rowe prepares for electronic locks vote

RANCHO SANTA FE — A special board meeting on Feb. 20 offered board members of the Rancho Santa Fe School District the opportunity to discuss the options of access control systems, electronic locks, and manual locks following a presentation by Jeff Kaye of School Safety Operations based in San Marcos. All board members were present for Kaye’s follow-up report on the school’s Hazard and Vulnerability Assessment.

Kaye said his end goal is to bring the district into recommended best practices. At times, he referred to the After-Action Reports following the devastating school shootings at Sandy Hook and Stoneman Douglas for the purpose of recommendations.

Kaye said that while R. Roger Rowe had a high baseline regarding “safety and security,” the proposed door security project would add to an already existing high level of campus safety.

“The desired goal is to have every door be locked (from the inside) without the use of a key and without being able to open the door,” he said, adding how a teacher or other staff member could look at the door and determined its locked position.

There are currently 71 doors at the R. Roger Rowe campus, which are all manual.

Kaye also noted that it would be optimal to eliminate keys. In circumstances of an extreme stress incident, fine motor skills might be compromised so removing keys would be best.  

Courtesy photo

Following Kaye’s presentation, the school board reviewed various options such as the proposed bid project, which included the installation of electronic locks on every campus door along with ID card readers. The others included electronic control for classrooms only, new mechanical locks for classrooms only, and electronic control for perimeters and mechanical locks for classrooms only.  

While there was no official vote on Feb. 20, the board opted to move forward for the proposed access control bid project with a cost of around $424,000 and with an annual expense of a few thousand. The next steps would be a vote at a future meeting along with a contract and Request for Proposals for the access control locks contract.

Money for the project would be from the capital facilities fund. Also discussed were LED lights, which would indicate if a door was locked from the interior to prevent manually opening the door to check if it was in a locked position.

For doors at the campus with glass panels, Kaye said it didn’t matter what type of lock was on the door.

“Some doors have glass, and the vulnerability is the glass door,” he said, adding how these targets needed to be hardened to prevent the glass from being smashed. “The district can look at shatterproof window coatings. It’s recommended to target harden the glass along with the end goal of having every door locked from the inside without the use of a key.”

Target hardening the glass was estimated to run about $15 a square foot.

Superintendent Donna Tripi said the district is in the process of getting quotes for target hardening. She also brought up the solid wood front entry office doors.

“Visitors are not visible,” she said, referring to the doors.

Ideas Tripi mentioned regarding the entry doors included items in Kaye’s report such as installing a video camera for the staff to monitor. Tripi also noted other solutions such as shatterproof glass and having visitors being “buzzed in” since the entry doors would remain locked.

Rancho Santa Fe School Board President Sarah Neal said the district will continue discussion on the issue. She also said the reason the project was being considered was that the district now had the funds. She said she wanted to be careful of the long-term costs and not have the district commit to, “something that we can’t potentially maintain.”

Neal requested that the district meet with the vendor once more at an upcoming monthly board meeting, hopefully in March, for additional clarification of the bid.

“The funds are significant,” board Vice President Tyler Seltzer said, referring to the project cost. “They are available, and I did not hear a compelling reason today that would stop that process.”