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Do security upgrades at UW-Rock make sense?

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Greg Peck
July 22, 2013

Our nation has seen too many shootings on college campuses, including the 2007 slaughter at Virginia Tech that killed 32 and wounded 17. Heck, in 2008 blood was spilled as close as Northern Illinois in DeKalb, where a gunman killed five people and wounded 21 before committing suicide. And no one needs reminding that unspeakable violence can come to the smallest schools, such as Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

So doesnít it make sense that little UW-Rock County here in Janesville beef up security, even if a consultant has found shortcomings that will cost $690,000 to fix?

Lack of communications in rooms below ground is among the biggest issues, education reporter Frank Schultz explained in last Tuesday's Gazette. Cellphones usually cannot get signals from these spots. Even radios of emergency workers donít work there. A specialized antenna that would boost reception is expected to solve these problems at a cost of $124,500.

Parts of campus that donít have video surveillance, intercom service, automated exterior door locks and other safety features would get them. Classrooms that donít have land-line telephones would likewise get these. Emergency call boxes will cost $50,000 and let anyone place an emergency call from most anywhere on campus, including parking lots.

The campus would also acquire an emergency mass-notification system for an estimated $55,000. It already has a phone notification system, but the new one would incorporate email, text alerts, paging, message boards and handheld radios.

All of this spending will fall on county taxpayers. Thatís because UW-Rock is a partnership in which the county pays for the land, buildings and upkeep while the UW System pays for employees, furnishings and other needs.

So does this spending make sense? Weíll share our perspectives in our editorial Tuesday.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook



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