The Van Buren School Board voted unanimously at a meeting Tuesday (Jan. 14) to increase security at the district's senior high school. Principal Eddie Tipton said the improvements will begin at the main entrance which has two sets of several glass doors.
Tipton said the plan includes removing a glass wall between the two sets of entry doors. The glass wall, which separates the entryway from the main office, will be replaced with a doorway, and the second set of glass doors will be locked.
The new doorway will be monitored by security cameras and will redirect traffic through the main office, according to Tipton. He said this will limit access to the building during the day and give school officials control over who enters.
"They get buzzed in so we'll be able to buzz them in and see who they are before we even let them in the building," said Tipton.
Once buzzed into the building, visitors will be greeted by the school resource officer stationed at his newly built office inside the main door.
"We just think having this way to route people through past a police officer is going to make things a lot safer," he said.
According to Tipton, the $28,000 renovations will also include installing new locking systems throughout the building. He believes the changes will create a better learning environment for students and faculty.
"When kids feel safer, they act better, they learn more easily, and our faculty feels good about not having to worry about somebody getting in our building."
Tipton said plans are already in the works and the project could be completed by spring break.