Enclosed walkways eyed at early college

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Larry Lawrence


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Thursday, December 13, 2018

CAMDEN — Camden school officials are discussing a proposal to enclose outdoor walkways at Camden Early College High School as a way to improve safety on the campus.

Larry Lawrence, chief operations officer for the Camden County Schools, told the Camden Board of Education last week that his enclosure plan for the early college would effectively turn the breezeways between the school’s modular units into hallways, making the campus much more secure.

With the breezeways enclosed, access to the early college would be only through the school’s front entrance, which is now located in a modular unit at the front of the early college complex.

Lawrence told the school board he is meeting with contractors to get cost estimates for enclosing the walkways and will report back to the board with what he finds.

“I think that would help a lot with security and tighten up the building,” Lawrence said of the proposed project at the early college.

There are four breezeways that would be enclosed under the proposal.

Camden County Schools Superintendent Joe Ferrell said the board has to do something about security at the early college. Everyone hopes and prays a tragedy never occurs but school officials also have to do everything possible to make school buildings safe and secure, he said.

Ferrell also made a presentation on the school district’s goals and accomplishments at a joint meeting of the Board of Education and Board of Commissioners, and school safety items were high on that list. During the past year the Camden County Schools secured a grant that is helping fund a second school resource officer for the school district.

He told the two boards that school safety with be a major focus in 2019, especially at the early college.

In addition, the schools, the county, and the Camden Sheriff’s Office shared the $66,000 cost of buying radio repeaters to improve emergency communications inside school buildings.

County Manager Ken Bowman said officials decided to make the radio improvement after communications problems were identified during an active shooter drill held at Camden Middle School on March 13.