Now Is the Time to Improve Your Campus Security and Safety Infrastructure
A whole lot of federal funding has just become available for things like HVAC, video surveillance, access control, emergency communications and other system upgrades related to campus security and safety.
If your school district, college or university has outdated infrastructure (and, let’s face it, what educational facility doesn’t?), there is no better time than now to make upgrades. That’s because a whole lot of federal funding has recently become available for these types of projects.
President Joe Biden’s administration and Congress have authorized billions in funding via the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to help campuses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s on top of the funding from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) that was approved in late December. And let’s not forget about the funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was passed in the Spring of 2020.
Right now, about $280 billion is available for K-12 and higher education infrastructure improvements. Additionally, $500 billion is for the states, and some of that funding will most certainly filter down to schools and institutions of higher education, and possibly healthcare.
Additionally, Biden in late March proposed a sweeping $2.25 trillion infrastructure package that includes $18 billion in much-needed upgrades to Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities. It also includes even more funding for education. Although Biden’s latest proposal is subject to congressional approval, if it passes, that’s another source of funding that could potentially be used by schools, colleges and healthcare.
The states are getting into the infrastructure funding game as well. For example, in early April, Connecticut opened new rounds of funding under two state grant programs that will help with the costs associated with implementing needed security infrastructure improvements and upgrades to emergency communications systems at schools throughout the state.
“There’s a lot to work with here, and there are a lot of options for using this funding,” Fred James, who is Siemens’ national business director for higher education told me about the latest round of federal funding. (You can watch my interview with James in my April 21 video/podcast, titled New Federal Funding Available for Smart Campus Infrastructure and Safety Upgrades).
This means that this money can be used for a wide variety of solutions that improve the long-term safety and health of students, faculty and staff, such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, video surveillance technology, access control, emergency notification systems, lighting and more.
For example, Connecticut’s new round of grants can be used for door locks, penetration resistant window film, scan cards/access control systems, fences, security lighting, bollards, interior and exterior camera systems, and other projects that enhance school security infrastructure. The money can also pay for interoperable systems that are capable of transmitting immediate communications or notifications to law enforcement agencies.
Schools and institutions of higher education would be foolish not to take advantage of these opportunities. However, applying for grants can be overwhelming. Hiring a grant writer is an important first step. Some vendors also provide assistance to their clients in obtaining funding. For example, Siemens, Johnson Controls, Honeywell, Raptor, and NGS Films and Graphics have all had success in advising their clients how to successfully apply for grants.
And once you get a grant, it would be wise to hire someone to manage it.
CampusSafetyMagazine.com has featured quite a bit of content on grants and funding over the past several years, so now would be a good time to review it. These articles, podcasts and webcasts include:
- New Federal Funding Available for Smart Campus Infrastructure and Safety Upgrades
- Funding for Healthy Buildings and Indoor Air Quality Upgrades
- How to Access COVID Relief Funding to Improve Safety and Comfort on Your Campus
- Winning and Managing School Safety Grants
- How to Write a Technology Grant Proposal for Your Campus
- 12 Common Mistakes Campuses Make When Applying for Grants
- When Responding to Grant RFPs, Give Them What They Want
- Finding Funding for Your Equipment, Programs and People (Parts 1 and 2)