HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Hillsborough County Public Schools are upgrading their school’s security measures in an effort to protect their students from the outside world during school hours.
“We were a school where it was built 100 years ago. School shootings were not front-page news at that time,” said Hillsborough High School Principal Gary Brady.
The district is now finalizing renovations at four schools to create security vestibules.
“We looked at some of our older schools and most of them were high schools and they had some vulnerabilities on campus. Once they came into a door, they were able to just walk in,” said Security Chief John Newman.
The updated security features can be found inside of Plant City, Chamberlain, Leto and Hillsborough High School.
Now, when a visitor comes to the new entryway, they will first have to buzz in. Once inside the vestibule, they will need to show an ID that will then be scanned. If all is clear, a door to the high school will unlock and grant them access.
“From a safety perspective this is light-years from where we were last year,” said Brady.
The district tells 8 On Your Side they used sales tax referendum dollars to make the new changes. According to Chief Newman, the security vestibule at Hillsborough High School cost around $125,000.
The new vestibules aren’t the district’s first major security upgrades. Newman states that over $12 million was spent on perimeter fencing after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.
“We really upgraded and had a harder look after Parkland to maybe put fencing closer to the schools to make them a lot more harder,” said Newman.
“It makes me feel great to know from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., there is one way in and one way out,” said Brady.
Hillsborough County Public School students head back to class Monday, Aug. 12.