Bond-funded classroom security measures installed this spring

In March, construction crews installed new handles, locks, and other security improvements on doors at East Orient, Highland, West Gresham and Powell Valley Elementary Schools. New door locks and security improvements are also underway at Hall, Hogan Cedars, Hollydale Elementary Schools and Springwater Trail High School. The district intends to upgrade more than 1,800 doors at every school in the district. These secured doors will not be installed at the existing North and East Gresham Elementary Schools, but the new, rebuilt North and East school campuses scheduled to open in 2019 will feature internally locking doors in every classroom.

Construction crews installed new internally locking door handles at East Orient, Highland, West Gresham and Powell Valley (pictured) Elementary Schools.

The investment in improved door locks and increased campus security reflects the continued priority that Gresham-Barlow School District places on student and staff safety. The need to modernize classrooms and secure school campuses from a variety of potential threats motivated the School District to pursue the $291.2 million school bond in 2016, and these improvements are underway at schools across the district. Gresham-Barlow School District has hired independent security analysts to guide the District to create maximum safety for our district’s schools.

Powell Valley Elementary School is receiving 125 security hardware door installations. These new locks will allow teachers to secure themselves and their students in their classrooms without having to go out in the hall. The school is also receiving other campus safety improvements, including a new, secure front entrance that only allows visitors to enter the building after clearance from school staff.  These improvements are funded through the $13 million allocated for safety improvements through the aforementioned 2016 school bond.

“I’m so appreciative that our community is valuing our schools and willing to support the critical safety updates and the investment in our buildings,” said Powell Valley Principal Michele Cook. “I think of schools as community space, and I think everyone appreciates having schools that are safe and well cared for, because it strengthens the community.”

Construction starts this summer on a new front entrance to Powell Valley. The new front doors will allow greater security for the campus and provide opportunity for staff to monitor the visitors to the school.

West Gresham Elementary’s new internally-locking doors were installed in February. Teachers and staff are thankful for the safety improvements.

“It’s great that teachers have a sense of security, so that they can focus on teaching. It’s freed up a bit of ease of mind,”  said West Gresham Elementary School Principal Lori Walter.

Walter noted that the school’s staff still take caution to teach students proper safety procedures. Students are taught not to let strangers in the building from the outward facing doors, and that the school intends to hold a security drill in the next few weeks to make sure teachers and students are familiar with their roles and responsibilities in the event of an incident.

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