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Gateway looking at security issues

| Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Gateway School District officials are continuing a yearlong effort to help ensure the safety of students.

District officials this month updated building information that could be used by emergency officials, while they hope to secure a state grant to install GPS systems in school buses.

Outside of every school and most businesses in Monroeville is a Knox-Box lockbox that contains keys and maps for firefighters to use when responding to an emergency after operating hours.

Knox is a national private company “serving first responders since 1975,” according to the company's website.

A recent inspection of the boxes revealed that some of the maps to the school buildings were outdated, Gateway Superintendent Nina Zetty said at the Nov. 18 school board meeting.

“They had not been changed for years,” she said.

“So if there had been an emergency, and the people with the key opened the box, they would not have been able to use them.”

Earlier this year, firefighters who responded to a nighttime alarm at University Park Elementary found that the keys in the box no longer worked, Monroeville fire Chief Ron Harvey said.

“They were all worried about security (after national school shootings) so they changed the locks on all the doors,” Harvey said.

“That happens from time to time.”

District officials said they also hope to upgrade safety on school buses with a potential $25,000 state grant for GPS systems.

The technology would allow parents to track the location of students online in the case of an emergency, such as a snowstorm, Zetty said.

Officials still are in the process of applying for the grant, she said.

“It's a competitive grant, but I think this is really a worthwhile cause.”

The district would have to pay an additional $35,000 to complete the project, which drew the ire of school director Jan Rawson.

She questioned the source of “excess money” when school officials had to raise the property-tax rate for this year.

Zetty assured the board that the money is available in the 2014 budget, under a line item for safety upgrades.

Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or

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