Washoe elementary schools get single-entry security

Published: Apr. 17, 2019 at 6:29 PM PDT
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A decade ago voters turned down a school bond issue which would have speeded up security upgrades to Washoe County schools, but some of the older campuses were due for general improvements, so the district rolled some of those upgrades into their plans.

Rita Cannan Elementary in northeast Reno is a good example of the problem, It was one of the first to have a single-entry retrofit. Built more than a half century ago, its wide open design left it potentially vulnerable. No more.

After the retrofit you could no longer just walk into the school. You had to walk through the front door, identify yourself and your purpose, sign in, get a visitor's pass and then--and only then--were you buzzed through a second locked door. The school grounds got security fencing all around. There was just one way in and one way out.

"Even if it's just from a communications standpoint we want to keep some control over who is coming and going from a school," says the school district's Chief Facilities Management Officer Adam Searcy.

Today, these kinds of measures are being designed and built into new schools, but that still left all those older schools without.

The district was working through a priority list which would in a few years bring single-entry to all elementary and middle schools. The decision was made to speed up that timeline.

The school where we met Searcy is in the midst of getting that upgrade and it's one of the last to get the upgrade.. The drywall is already up and you can see where the security door will be mounted. Soon it and all other elementary schools will have single-entry security.

"We have the retrofit for single-point entry construction on all of our elementary schools under contract and underway, and anticipate all of them will be completed by August 15 in time for the start of the next school year."

Copyright KOLO-TV 2019