Salisbury school district awarded $350K to connect buildings

May 3, 2019

Five Somerset County school districts have been awarded state funds to improve safety standards, with Salisbury-Elk Lick planning to use its allotment to physically connect its buildings.

County school districts received a total of $644,675 from the School Safety and Security Grant Program. The grant program is part of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

The Salisbury school district received more than half of the funding awarded to Somerset County school districts, receiving $350,000 for a walkway enclosure project to connect the elementary and high school buildings.

“It’s about 125 feet outside the buildings that we are looking to enclose,” Superintendent Joseph Renzi said. School districts that applied were awarded a $25,000 grant in October. During a meeting with the school board Wednesday, Renzi said officials used those funds for outdoor LED lighting and outdoor cameras.

“We’re very excited to receive the award, and it’s something that we probably could not have done without the grant,” he said.

The School Safety and Security Grant Program was established in 2018 by state legislators to provide grants for school safety. School officials can use these grants for things such as purchasing security-related technology, offering counseling services for students and providing violence protection programs.

“This was a $40 million competitive solicitation that school districts, charter schools, intermediate units, area vocational-technical schools and private residential rehabilitation institutions were eligible to apply for,” Kirsten Kenyon, spokeswoman for the commission, said.

The commission received 638 applications totaling $177.6 million for school safety projects in the current fiscal year. The grant program awarded $40 million for 234 projects throughout the state.

North Star Superintendent Louis Lepley said North Star will be using the $92,150 the district was awarded for metal detecting wands, signage and lighting. The district used the original $25,000 to add more cameras to the buildings.

“There’s always strict guidelines when you get grant money, but we’re looking at additional safety equipment for our doors,” he said. “Anything to make our buildings safe for students and the community that’s visiting.”

Lepley added that safety has become a bigger concern in light of national stories, and making people feel safe is one of the district’s top priorities.

“The only way for people to feel safe and confident is to continue to improve on the safety and security of our buildings,” he said.

See the full list of districts that received grants at www.dailyamerican.com.