Safety upgraded as PCC session starts
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Students may feel a little safer as Pima Community College starts its fall session Wednesday. The College has added major safety upgrades.
We've seen a sad string of shootings and other incidents from colleges, all the way to elementary schools. Now PCC is rolling out close to three million dollars in safety improvements for all its campuses.
The Virginia Tech shootings, which killed 32 people, helped drive the changes at PCC. Facilities manager Bill Ward, conferred with staff at Tech to learn some of the lessons of that gunman's attack.
Ward says, now on PCC campuses, new gates steer students and visitors through certain entrances.
"So we can monitor who's coming in here, late at night, early in the day---stuff like that."
Ward showed us where some spots have new panic buttons to summon help in a hurry.
"In case there was an emergency or an irate customer or something like that somebody could send a message."
To help answer those calls PCC is adding four police officers, two dispatchers and 10 civilian community service officers.
Some changes were as simple as installing hundreds of new doorknobs.
Here's how the change in door knobs can make a big difference. Before the change if there was danger out in the hallway, and you wanted to lock yourself safely away you had to come up with a key to lock the door. Now you can just mash the button and take shelter."
More doors will use key card access.
And the college has turned on a text alert system for quick warnings by cellphone.
Students like Jose Arturo Salmeron appreciate the upgrades: "I'm actually a veteran myself so it really feels great to understand that the school systems cares about those things especially with what's going on all over the country."
Student Rebekah Devine says, "I think it's a great idea with all the problems there have been across the country with safety in the schools. I think it's necessary."
PCC is also upgrading fire sprinklers and alarms, and adding ways of sending voice warnings over public address speakers, and through computers on the college network.