Grants to aid safety in area schools

Area schools districts will be getting help making their buildings safer while early education centers will get improved facilities with the help of newly awarded state grants.

Four local districts are among 15 sharing in $200,000 in grants to enhance school safety and security. The Greater Lawrence Technical School District was allotted $15,000 while Danvers will receive $13,000; Wakefield, $10,000; and Everett, $2,000.

Six local groups, meanwhile, are among 10 statewide awarded $7.5 million to develop or upgrade spaces used for early education and care, as well as those used for older school-age children during nonschool hours.


Greater Lawrence will use its grant to support three initiatives to strengthen safety at its building in Andover, according to John Lavoie, the district’s superintendent-director.

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“It lets staff and students and the public know we take safety seriously in our school,” Lavoie said.

The district will use a portion of the funds to better secure the front entrance to the building by installing an automated locking system that requires visitors to be “buzzed in” by the receptionist.

The grant also will be used to continue a program in which student leaders carry out activities that promote school spirit and safety, and to enhance an initiative that teaches survival techniques for students and staff in the event of a violent incident.

Danvers will use its funds to purchase equipment, including computerized visitor identification systems, radios, and walkie talkies as part of a plan to implement enhanced safety procedures at all of its schools, according to Superintendent Lisa Dana.


The early education grants were awarded through a new state fund to support capital projects for those programs.

Beverly Children’s Learning Center was awarded $1 million to help fund the acquisition and renovation costs of relocating from the Cummings Center to a new building it purchased on Cabot Street last September, according to Judith Cody, the group’s executive director. The center serves 135 children from 3 months to 13 years.

Cody said the state money is a major boost to a $2.5 million capital campaign the group has initiated for the $4.5 million project. She said the new facility would provide the interior and outdoor space it needs for its program and to serve another 24 children.

The Catholic Charitable Bureau of the Archdiocese of Boston will receive $750,000 for renovations to its Lynn Child Care Center.

Merrimack Valley YMCA was awarded $800,000 to help complete the first phase of a planned renovation of its Lawrence building. The work includes relocating the facility’s child care center to upgraded space.


Community Teamwork, Inc., in Lowell, which has programs that include early education, will receive $500,000 to replace the major mechanical systems in its building.

Four districts are among 15 sharing in $200,000 in grants to enhance school safety.

For Kids Only in Revere will get $400,000 to construct a new two-story building to house its Youth in Motion program. Also awarded $400,000 was the United Teen Equality Center, in Lowell, to help create a child care center on two floors of its building.

John Laidler can be reached at