Window film approved for schools’ main entrances

State grant covering 75 percent of cost

Windows and doors at Oxford schools will receive an added layer of protection designed to help create a safer and more energy-efficient environment.

Last week, the board of education voted 6-0 to purchase almost 5,300 square feet of 3M security window film from the Auburn-Hills-based Michigan Glass Coatings and have the company install it around the main entrances of the high school, middle school, five elementary schools and the Oxford Virtual Academy located inside the Oxford Marketplace shopping center on M-24. Trustee Mary Hanser was absent.

The window film, which is called Safety Silver S20, will cost $107,819. Of that, $26,955 will be paid by the school district. The remaining $80,864 will be covered by the $442,773 grant Oxford received via the Michigan State Police earlier this year.

Applied to the interior surface of glass windows and doors, the primary function of the security film, which is an adhesive material, is to hold fragments together in the event the glass is shattered by, for example, a heavy object or a bullet.

Sam Barna, assistant superintendent of business and operations, told the board the security film is “not bulletproof, but it is indeed shatterproof.”

The idea is to reduce the risk of potential injury due to shards of glass flying through the air and prevent an intruder from having quick and easy access to the building via the broken window. Keeping the glass intact is meant to help slow the intruder down and buy some time for people inside to move to a safer location and call for help.

Barna explained to this reporter that adding security film to existing windows and doors is a much less expensive and practical option compared to replacing everything with bullet-resistant material.

Barna admitted he “didn’t do too much research” regarding bullet-resistant materials because the cost was “very prohibitive.” Based on what he learned, “depending on the calibers (of bullets) you want this (material) to withstand” and for how long, “it’s anywhere from $25 to more than $100 per square foot.”

“(The cost) swings wildly depending on (the) caliber,” he said.

In contrast, the 3M security film costs $20.39 per square foot, according to Barna.

The security film is reflective, so after it’s applied, people inside the building will be able to look out, but people outside the facility will not be able to see in.

According to Barna, this feature prevents an attacker on the outside from zeroing in on a specific person or persons inside the school.

“They’re not going to be able to see their target,” he said.

Barna noted the window film also has benefits when it comes to energy-efficiency. According to 3M, its product rejects “up to 79 percent of the sun’s heat,” which helps “keep rooms at more even, moderate temperatures.”

In its sales literature, 3M states, “Our films can reduce the temperature in direct sunlight by as much as 9 (degrees Fahrenheit), making your space more comfortable and usable.”

By not having to run its air-conditioning systems “continuously” to deal with excessive heat, the district could possibly save money on electricity, Barna said.

The district is hoping to have all of the security window film installed by the holiday break in December, according to Barna.


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