London Schools upgrading security and ball fields

Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick
Dr. Lou Kramer, superintendent of London City Schools, stands on site at the high school’s baseball and softball fields where footers are being poured for installation of new backstops. Also planned is installation of synthetic turf and lighting at both fields.

(Posted July 13, 2023)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

London City Schools is making several upgrades to its security system and athletic facilities this summer. Most of the work is expected to be done by the start of the 2023-24 school year.

“We are working with several vendors to completely overhaul the district’s security system,” said Superintendent Dr. Lou Kramer.

The upgrades include:
• A new alarm system with the technological capacity to support it, including a battery backup and server dedicated to network surveillance video.

“The new alarm system will provide district administrators and security personnel with immediate push notifications for perimeter entry or propped doors,” Kramer said. “The system also will provide the immediate capability to remotely lock down an entire school or the district, if needed.”

• Installation and/or repair of key fob-accessible doors.

• Replacement cores for all mechanical locks to perimeter doors in every school.

• Installation and replacement of surveillance cameras district-wide.

“The district replaced all of its surveillance cameras seven years ago. They are getting toward the end of their life,” Kramer said. “Also, an area we have identified in our threat assessment is the need to strengthen our perimeter security.

“Coupled with the opportunity to get most of (the upgrades) paid for with a substantial safety grant, we decided it was advantageous for us to pursue.”

A $300,000 state safety grant is covering approximately half the cost of the upgrades. Work on the upgrades is scheduled to start July 10. Everything should be completed by the start of the school year.

Athletic Facilities
Crews were slated to start installation of synthetic turf at the high school softball field the week of July 10. This is one of many upgrades planned for the high school’s softball and baseball fields.

The softball turf project should be finished before school starts this fall. Installation of synthetic turf on the baseball field will start in early August and be done by mid-September. In the past, bad weather has led to poor field conditions which, in turn, have caused a large number of game and practice cancellations. The new turf should prevent many such cancellations.

Maumee Bay Turf Center, the same company that installed the synthetic turf on the high school’s football field, is doing the work. The cost is $915,000.

At their June board meeting, school board members approved a contract with Matteo Construction to remove and replace the existing backstops at the softball and baseball fields at a cost of $38,900. Now, a split block base with netting on top will run from the visitor dugout to the home dugout at each field. Previously, there was no block; the netting ran to the ground.

“This upgrade will make for a more aesthetically pleasing situation and limit our maintenance costs over the years,” Kramer said.

For the first time, the ball fields will be lit. Installation of LED lighting is on the upgrades to-do list. Additionally, the existing lights at the football field will be retrofitted with LED lights that are more energy efficient and produce better overall lighting. The cost of the retrofit is $264,677.

Lighting materials were set to arrive the week of July 10. Priority will go to the football field with a projected completion date of Aug. 3. The first football game is Aug. 25. Lighting at the softball and baseball field will follow.

The district also is focusing attention on the track. The surface is being reconditioned. Work started July 5. The vendor will return approximately five days later to line and seal the surface.

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