School applies for BEST security grant


ALAMOSA — Alamosa School District has already improved security at Ortega Middle School and wishes to do the same at Alamosa High School. During their meeting on Monday the Alamosa School District Board of Education heard about the application for a Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant to fund the security upgrades that will be submitted this week.

Maintenance Director Charlie Jackson told the board that the grant is for about $1.59 million and the district's match will be approximately $524,000.

Like with OMS, the grant focuses on the safety to the entrance of the school. The main east side entryway will be modified so that a security officer can screen guests. All doors in the building will have sensors, allowing the officer to monitor when they open and close, and card readers will be placed for teachers and staff.

A state reimbursement grant has allowed the district to already install exterior cameras and speakers. The main cost, accounting for roughly $450,000 of the grant, is that the administrative office will have to be moved to have line of sight of the entrance.

Additionally, the grant calls for an expansion of the east parking lot along with new and updated signage.

The status of the application will not be known until April and the district hopes construction would be completed before the start of the school.

"Even if it goes into the school year, all you have to do is watch the news last week to know how important school security is," said board member Dr. Thomas Miller, referencing the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. "If it makes the first two weeks of school bad, it's worth it."

"We have our fingers crossed," Jackson added. "We need it."