MEDFORD, Ore. – Major overhauls are coming to the layouts of several Medford schools, part of an effort to increase security and limit access to campus.
Workers have been busy all summer at Hoover, Griffin Creek and Kennedy Elementary schools to close the wide-open “California-style” campuses, which consist of multiple buildings and outdoor pathways.
In each case, the perimeters will be lined with 6-foot-tall fences, and former openings to campuses will now have locked doors. The plan is to allow guests to only access the school through a single main entrance near the office. District officials said that would help prevent intruders from getting in to campus.
“What we’re able to do with these projects is enclose these open-air campuses more so that students can go from class to class, and people from outside the campus can’t come on and disturb what we’re doing,” said Phil Long, Medford Schools Superintendent.
The security measures were undertaken after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., last December.
“There are some very sad, sick people out there who are going to do horrible things, and really what’s important is to very quickly respond and where we can, limit access on our campuses,” Long said.
The $589,000 project was approved by the school board earlier this summer and was made possible because of extra funding allocated to Oregon schools by state lawmakers.
Other security work is being done at other Medford schools. Workers at McLoughlin Middle School are moving the main entrance next to the office, to make sure guests are seen by school staff. The district is also upgrading fire systems and fences at several campuses.
Officials also said new push-button emergency systems will be installed later this summer. If pushed, they would connect directly to Medford Police, who would know exactly which location in a particular school to respond to.