Construction is complete on the new secured entrances at Kelly Creek and Powell Valley Elementary Schools. These new “vestibule” entrances allow school staff to have direct oversight of every person who requests to enter the building. By removing unnecessary points of entry on campuses and providing secure entrances, the Gresham-Barlow School District is investing in providing our students safe places to learn. Construction of the vestibules also led to changes in the hallways of the schools – which will allow staff to quickly lockdown in the event of an incident.
These new entrances include a security camera feature. School staff use the new technology to talk directly to anyone outside the building who wishes to enter before opening the locked doors.
““I don’t have to worry about who is in the building,” said Kelly Creek Principal Bethany Fraze.
Fraze believes these investments in the schools make it easier for her to do her job. “Every parent that has walked in has said it looks great, feels safe, and that [the new entrance] puts them at ease that students are in a safe building,” she added.
Kelly Creek and Powell Valley Elementary Schools are only the first two schools to get new, modern entrances. Similar secured entrance designs are included for the new North Gresham and East Gresham elementary schools, slated to open this fall, and are also included in the renovations underway at Gresham High School and Barlow High School. The district will be building new secured entrances at sixteen schools by the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.
“Parents are thrilled,” said Debbie Hodkins. Hodkins is a secretary for Kelly Creek Elementary School, and uses the new security system to screen who is able to enter the building while students are in class. “Parents are so happy to feel that their kids are safe.”
In November 2016, Gresham-Barlow voters passed a school bond that provided funding for safety and security improvements at every school across the district. The district’s construction crews have already installed internally-locking doors in many schools across the district, and more are on the way. This past summer, the district purchased and installed new radios that allow the district to communicate more quickly and effectively with each school and every school bus. Gresham-Barlow School District has worked closely with the City of Gresham’s first responders in choosing how to invest in making our schools safer.
Principal Fraze is thankful for the passage of the bond, and believes these safety improvements are a great investment for the entire Kelly Creek community.
“Our families are grateful that the community has come together to ensure our school is a safe and secure learning environment,” said Fraze.