Half the schools in the Columbia Public School District have ramped up on security by installing a buzzer system at their the front doors.Tuesday marked the first day Mary Paxton Keeley Elementary School had the new buzzer system. When someone tries to come into the school, a sign directs the person to a side door where the buzzer, a speaker and a camera are located. School officials will then ask the person who they are, what they are doing at the school and ask the person to stop by the office to sign-in once in the building.Parents of students at the school are pleased with the new system.”I think it’s great,” said Kristen Crews. “I felt like Columbia Public Schools were safe before but I think it’s an extra, added safety.”School officials say they hope to finish installing buzzer systems to the rest of the schools by the end June and the schools plan to continue improving that safety. “Many improvements including additional cameras, lighting, two-way radios needed to be replaced as well as the buzz in system,” CPS spokesperson Michelle Baumstark said.”It’s definitely a step in the right direction,” parent Sunil Raikhanghel said. “It’s an improvement where it was sometime ago when you could just walk in.”Grandparents visiting from out of town are also excited about the security renovations “We are pleased with a school like this to do this,” Jim and Hallie Lozowski said. “We’ve heard such wonderful things about this school so it’s nice to know they’ve added some safety.” School officials set up a budget back in September with a focus on safety and security upgrades. It will cost the district about $60,000 to finish installing buzzer systems in the 17 other schools.
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