Williamsburg Christian Academy will open the 2019-2020 school year in a facility that looks much the same as it did last year. But behind the walls is a major security upgrade that will make WCA one of the most secure private schools in the area. Thanks to a matching grant and additional donations, WCA is undergoing an over $80,000 upgrade in a number of security areas, including the
addition of over 20 new surveillance cameras (with high enough resolution to be legally admissible), traceable key fob access on all exterior doors, and a state-of-the-art fire and security monitoring alarm system and panel. Of particular importance is the ability of all of these systems to function properly in the event of a power loss without reliance on our backup generator.
“We praise God for touching the hearts of the donors who have enabled WCA to enhance the protection of our students,” Head of School Johnny Graham commented on the new upgrades. “These summer safety enhancements enable us to improve our care of students.”
Also included is a video-enabled screening station outside the main entry doors, to enable front office personnel to verify the identity of visitors and purpose for visit to the school prior to gaining access to the foyer. Although the office currently has a similar system in place with Ring, an over-the-counter product, the new system will be hardwired and tied into the remainder of the school’s security system.
“We are grateful to the Lord for those that gave so generously to enhance the safety and security of the WCA facility,” commented WCA’s Head of Administration Rob Campbell, who spearheaded the effort, on the funds that came together to make these changes a reality. “Every student will benefit from the updated and expanded systems.”
On top of this already ambitious slate of physical upgrades to WCA security, the administration is also implementing a new process for student dismissal tracking and pick-up each afternoon. WCA will be partnering with the makers of the School Dismissal Manager system to not only keep track of every student’s intended late arrivals and early dismissals, but also utilize its FastLane system, a software program that ties parents, administration and teachers together with a secure check-in and pickup system that helps streamline end of day student pick-up. As a result of this new system, which was rolled out to the WCA community about two weeks ago with a general guideline document, parents or any other personnel will no longer be permitted to openly enter the building to retrieve their child. Although this option will still be available, anyone coming into the building will need to enter through a single point, the front entrance, and will be screened by front office personnel before entering the school. The majority of students in this system will be called down to the front entrance once their parent outside has checked into the car line at a designated location. Other students can be designated earlier in the day (using the system’s mobile app) as attending sports practices and other clubs and extracurriculars if not being picked up in car line. Full details and secure credentials will be on their way to you soon, so keep your eyes out for an email from us and School Dismissal Manager.
Drop-off will be similar to drop-off in the past, except once again, we are limiting all traffic for safety reasons to our front entrance. All drop-offs will be conducted at the front door and students will proceed to their classes or be escorted if they are too young to find their own way.
The final change in traffic security is the barring of any vehicle from parking or idling in the main circle loop in front of the school. This is not only a requirement per the WJCC Fire Code, but will also keep the circle clear for both drop-off and pick-up. Upon returning to school, you should see the distinctive markings of a designated fire lane all around the circle, and that entire area will be coned off to prevent anyone from using that area for parking until all have become accustomed to the change. Loading and unloading will still be permitted.
In addition to the unseen security improvements, the front office is also getting a facelift, with new custom cabinetry and desks being installed right now through the generous contribution of donor and national retail contractor David Nice Builders. “We are honored to partner with such a wonderful organization like Williamsburg Christian Academy,” remarked Brandon Nice, Vice President of Construction Operations at David Nice Builders. “Christian education has such an incredible impact on future generations and our company is privileged to support that effort.”
The new furnishings will not only be functional, but will also improve the aesthetics of the first view many visitors have of the interior of our facility, the front office space. The new, completely integrated, and consistent installation will replace a collection of desks, filing cabinets and countertops that had been assembled together over the years since the school was founded to meet the needs of our front office staff.