Several schools in Bismarck are under construction, and they are being designed with safety in mind.
Renée Cooper visited a few of the construction sites to see how administrators are insuring your kids’ schools are a sanctuary.
The biggest change Bismarck schools are seeing is the addition of an extended entrance. This is to add an extra level of security to the buildings.
Light of Christ Catholic Schools President Gerald Vetter adds, “Which also takes you right by the administrative offices. You’re buzzed in, you’re buzzed out.”
At the new Saint Mary’s High School, people will also have to walk up through what will be a courtyard, making them visible from a distance.
Vetter explains, “You can’t enter a school without being seen.”
Saint Mary’s is also widening the hallways in this new building so teachers and faculty will be able to see everything and everyone coming down a hall.
Vetter adds, “Our current school was built in 1951, but what’s interesting about those that were built in the 1950s is that there aren’t a lot of entrances there either.”
Vetter says schools like Bismarck High, built in the ’70s and ’80s have many entrances.
Part of the changes at BHS include keeping all doors but the new entry way locked during school hours.
Bismarck Public Schools Business and Operations Manager Darin Scherr says, “At a certain time, then the doors lock automatically and then it forces visitors through the office. If somebody has to leave to go to a dentist appointment and they’re coming back and they are a student, they actually have to go through the office also.”
The administrators agree, safety in schools is all about controlling the flow of people entering the building.
Scherr adds, “Getting an A on your test is good, but coming home is better.”
Vetter says additional safety measures are still being determined for Saint Mary’s 2019 opening. They will also be installing 360 degree cameras across school grounds.