VC nears completion of campus safety, security improvements
Victoria College Police Chief Felix Appelt observes video of various locations at VCs Main Campus.

Victoria College is nearing the completion of making one of the safest community college campuses even more secure for its students and employees.

Larry Garrett, Victoria College Director of Risk Management and Special Projects, said security and safety improvements will be completed by the end of the Spring 2017 semester.

“This campus has always been safe,” Garrett said. “We have had only three serious incidents on campus over the past six years. We want to continue to be proactive in providing everyone on campus a safe and secure environment.”

Victoria College recently installed 33 exterior cameras that cover all building entrances and major parking lots and is near completing the installation of more than 125 additional cameras at the VC Main Campus, Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts and Gonzales Center. Also among the improvements were electronic card swipe access for all exterior doors, a new emergency alert system and a generator to maintain communications in the event of a power outage.

“The new electronic card swipe for our doors allows us to lock and unlock buildings on a schedule and also monitors and controls access of who can enter buildings after hours,” Garrett said. “The emergency alert system included upgrading telephones.

“During an emergency, alerts can be texted and emailed to employees and students. Emergency audio announcements can also be made over the phones and through speakers at outdoor locations on campus.”

Victoria College President Dr. David Hinds said the safety and security initiative aligned with VC’s five-year strategic plan that was launched in 2015.

“One of our items under institutional excellence refers to providing a welcoming and safe campus for students,” Hinds said.

Victoria College Police Chief Felix Appelt said one of the biggest advantages of the new system is the ability to remotely lock down buildings in the case of an emergency.

“It helps us be accountable for who is going into what buildings, who’s on campus at different times of the night,” Appelt said. “With the addition of the locks being put on all the buildings, if we have an emergency, we can lock them down simply by hitting a button and they are all locked versus like it used to be when we had to manually lock each building individually..”

The cost for the improvements of the four-year project was $600,000.

“We’ve always had in our annual budget some money for safety upgrades,” Garrett said. “But when the construction of the Emerging Technology Complex came in under budget, we had quite a bit of funds to work on master plan items, and one of those was campus safety.”

Garrett said starting with the upcoming spring semester, VC plans to launch a safety awareness campaign to spread information about the improvements.

“We’ve made a lot of improvements over the past few years, and now our focus will be on continuing to inform students and employees about the improvements,” Garrett said.

Published: Tuesday, 15 November 2016

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