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Plans in place to upgrade security in Pikeland School District

Thursday will be the first anniversary of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead.
Methods to prevent a similar tragedy are top of mind for school administrators, even in the Tri-States.

Right now, there’s not much stopping someone from getting into the elementary, junior high and high school in the Pikeland School District. But come summer, that’s going to change.

All three school entrances will be updated to ensure all kids are as safe as possible.

Entrances at the elementary school, the junior high and the high school in the Pikeland School district will soon be safer, according to district officials.

At the middle school, there will be a new window added in between two sets of doors.

“They’ll come in, we’ll ask them what their purpose is, decide if they need to enter the building, and then they’d be allowed through this door after that,” Pikeland Community School Principal Jon Frieden said.

Frieden said this will make his kids safer.

“Even though it seems like a little upgrade, anything we can do to add a level of security in our building to keep our kids and staff safer is always important,” Frieden said.

It will work the same way at South Elementary School. The window will go on the wall, before a second set of doors– something principal Angiel Ruebush said will make drop offs and visit more secure, something she gets a lot of with young children.

“We love to have our parents here to visit us, but this will be another way to ensure their students’ safety,” Ruebush said.

Pikeland School District Superintendent Paula Hawley said by adding a second set of doors, along with a window, it will limit the amount of people who actually make it all the way into the school.

“We have a lot of people that come to the school in the course of a day, and most of them really don’t need access into the entire building,” Hawley said. “By doing the security upgrades, we are just limiting access to anyone unless they really truly need to come into the building.”

Hawley said it ultimately comes down to one thing.

“We want to look at doing the things we can do to help improve the safety in all of our buildings for student and staff,” Hawley said.

The high school will undergo the same update, with windows and new set of doors.

The district plans to start construction in the summer. Hawley said she expects the project will be done when kids return in august.

The district plans to pay for the 1.2 million dollar project by selling bonds. The cost of the bonds are covered by the one percent sales tax and will not raise property taxes.

Kara Biernat

Kara Biernat is a MultiMedia Journalist for WGEM News.

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