Yorkville School District Y115 Board OKs bullet resistant ‘glass enhancement,’ other layers of security at buildings

The Yorkville School District 115 administrative offices in Yorkville

YORKVILLE – School District Y115 is adding more layers of security to its classroom buildings.

The Yorkville School Board on Oct. 24 approved measures designed to prevent intruders from gaining access to school buildings and to provide first responders with detailed maps of building interior layouts.

Board members voted to spend $35,000 for the installation of a product that will shatterproof existing glass on school building front doors and the vestibules immediately inside.

The 8 mm-thick product, manufactured by 3M, will hold the glass in place for three minutes after being struck by bullets, district Director of Facility Operations Heather DiVerde told the school board.

“This clear glass enhancement film can provide multiple levels of penetration or bullet resistance when applied,” DiVerde wrote in a report to the board. “The goal is to provide the district the ability to better delay any unwanted visitors in entering our buildings.”

The retrofitting project includes all 11 of the district’s school buildings. With the board’s approval, work is expected to get underway soon, DiVerde said.

A second phase of the glass shatterproofing treatment is expected to come later. This would involve installating a 15 mm-thick application on glass in interior hallway “areas of safety” where students and faculty would go in the event of a tornado or other disaster.

Meanwhile, the board also approved the school mapping project at a cost of $32,500.

“The district security team has researched a mapping solution that will not only keep the district’s building maps current but these maps will be an additional resource for our emergency responders,” DiVerde told the board. “They will not only be able to coordinate a response on the interior of the building, but the maps will help them for the exterior, as well.”

When the mapping project is complete officers from the Yorkville Police Department and firefighters from the Bristol-Kendall Fire Protection District will be armed with apps that identify classrooms, hallways, doorways and stairwells along with utility locations.

The contract for the mapping project is being awarded to Critical Response Group, which creates maps using a grid overlay with mapping coordinates that allow emergency personnel to communicate with each other using the same building layout imagery. The maps are customized for every floor of the building.

“This information is everything that a first responder would need to know to coordinate an emergency response within a building structure,” DiVerde said. “The critical incident maps are also a great resource for the district staff and students to use for evacuation routes such as fire, severe weather and intruder drills.”

The school district already had ratcheted up its security measures with the start of the new school year.

Over the summer, the district overhauled its security camera network at a cost of nearly $1 million with a new state-of-the-art system that replaced existing cameras while providing an additional 287, bringing the total number of cameras district-wide to 478.

Inside school buildings, the cameras have been installed in common areas including hallways, the cafeteria and gymnasium, but not in classrooms. Outside cameras monitor building entrances, parking lots and the football stadium.

The camera system is linked directly to the Yorkville Police Department, allowing officers to watch events on camera in real time.

Meanwhile, in addition to a Yorkville police school resources officer based at Yorkville High School, the district is employing five armed, highly trained security personnel, with plans to add two more this school year.

“We’ve increased our security presence to keep our students and staff safe,” Associate Superintendent Nick Baughman said.