New School Security Construction Cost Estimates Reference PASS K-12 Guidelines

The Partner Alliance for Safer Schools K-12 (PASS K-12) – an initiative developed by the National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA) and the Security Industry Association (SIA) – is excited to announce that its guidelines have been used by the Secure Schools Alliance Research and Education (the Alliance) organization to create the first-ever school security construction cost estimates.

“While a few states – like New Jersey and Connecticut – have passed rules regarding security improvements for K-12 schools, there are still no approved national standards for such security infrastructure improvements,” says Robert Boyd, executive director of the Secure Schools Alliance. “The PASS guidelines represent an opportunity for the United States to embrace a consistent set of goals for security infrastructure, security technology, and life safety systems for public schools while respecting local norms and not forcing unfunded mandates.”

When discussing school security infrastructure and security technology, legislators and policymakers always ask: “How much will improvements cost?” These new cost estimates from Secure Schools Alliance Research and Education provide a realistic look at the resources needed to take action, and are the first set of hard numbers based on a specific set of recommended guidelines.

The cost estimates are based on actual security improvements made by Colorado’s Littleton Public Schools, which used the PASS K-12 guidelines to upgrade its security infrastructure and technology. Guy Grace, the school district’s director of public safety and security, led the implementation and recently shared details of using the PASS guidelines with Domestic Preparedness.

“One of the biggest benefits we have experienced by following the PASS standards is that our security systems can always evolve to meet the all-hazards needs of our school district now and in the future,” says Grace. “We have also found the PASS recommendations to be very valuable in readying our school community to meet day-to-day needs and emergencies when they arise. The district, on any school day, has over 200 employees who are using the security systems’ various integrated solutions to keep students and staff safe. People are our most important asset in the school system, and it is important that we give them the best tools to use.”

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To create the cost estimates, PASS steering committee members first formed a baseline budget based on actual costs from Littleton Public Schools. Then, understanding that costs vary by market, the number of public schools in each state was considered and broken down by type (K-8, secondary, and other) to determine what costs would be by state and school type for each PASS tier level.

According to Chuck Wilson, PASS steering committee member and executive director for NSCA, “The cost estimates were validated on a national level using labor calculations from NSCA research, which is the industry standard for determining the labor usage for projects of this scope.”

“PASS has provided a solid roadmap for a security plan implementation. The PASS basic level of security (Tier 1) should be the minimum standard for all school buildings, but more action is required,” says Mark Williams, a PASS steering committee member and vice president at Allegion. “Hopefully, it will be a conscious decision rather than another act of violence that spurs such action.”

“Most incidents of mass violence in elementary schools (94%), and one-third of such events in middle and high schools are caused by intruders,” Boyd adds. “We can stop intruders – and now we know what it costs to help do so. It is time to launch a national discussion about standards to improve the security of K-12 schools.”

To learn more about PASS, or to download a copy of the PASS guidelines, go here.

Gary Kayye

About Gary Kayye

Gary Kayye, founder of rAVe Publications, is one of the most prominent personalities in the audiovisual industry. He has been a contributor to WIRED magazine and a technical advisor and columnist for Sound & Communications magazine as well as an opinionated columnist for rAVe [Publications] since 2003. In addition to his writing and market analysis, Gary has been a product, marketing and business operations consultant to dozens of AV companies in the U.S. and overseas. Clients have included companies such as Sony, Sharp, Epson, Lutron, InFocus, Sanyo, Mitsubishi, NEC and Philips.   Gary, who has been involved with the audiovisual market for over 20 years, was the recipient of the InfoComm 2003 Educator of the Year Award and the 2007 NSCA Instructor of the Year Award. Over the years, he has donated much of his time as an active volunteer in the AV industry’s trade association and served as chairman of InfoComm’s Professional Education & Training Committee (PETC), chairman of the ICIA Design School Committee and chairman of InfoComm’s Installation School Committee. In addition, he has served on the InfoComm board of governors. He also helped grow the InfoComm Projection Shoot-Out as the premiere AV industry trade show special event serving on the committee from 1991 through 1997, and was instrumental in launching the Shoot-Out in the European market at the Photokina Expo in 1994 and 1996 as well as the Asian market at the 1995 and 1997 INFOCOMM Asia shows.   Prior to founding his own company, Gary was vice president of sales and marketing for AMX Corporation (, a manufacturer specializing in professional AV and residential AV control systems. Prior to AMX, Gary spent nine years at Extron Electronics (, rising to the position of vice president of sales and marketing. Gary earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1987 from the University of North Carolina and is currently Adjunct Faculty at UNC in the School of Journalism teaching a class on how future technologies will affect the future of advertising, PR and marketing.   He is also the founder of Swim for Smiles, a non-profit that raises money for the N.C. Children’s Hospital through swimming and other fitness-related events for kids. You can contact him at