Ellensburg School District Makes Security Upgrades a Priority - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Ellensburg School District Makes Security Upgrades a Priority

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ELLENSBURG, Wash.--While your children are busy enjoying their last days of summer vacation, the Ellensburg School District is making plans to keep them safe.
"From a building administration standpoint you want to know who is in your building, and you want to have some screening and control of access to your building," said Ben Mount, the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for the Ellensburg School District. "And older buildings were really built without that in mind, Lincoln especially."
However, that could change by the end of the year. The school district is working on plans to relocate  Lincoln Elementary's office to the main entrance of the building.
"People will come in and be able to interact with somebody from the district, sign in as a visitor or talk about what they're doing," said Mount. "Once they're approved, they'll be able to enter the building and go about their business."
Students and staff at Lincoln Elementary and Mount Stuart Elementary will also notice a new intercom system installed in the next several months, providing instant communication during an emergency.
"We will go from being able to enter lockdown after a fairly long time to being able to enter it essentially immediately," said Mount.
Parents we spoke with said they're happy to hear about these changes and will be more at ease sending their kids back to school on Tuesday.
"They do need to do something to ensure the safety of our children," said Michell Schmidt, a parent. "Our society's definitely changing, and it's unfortunate that we're at this point but I'm happy to see them doing that."
The emergency preparedness coordinator said students will notice a bigger law enforcement presence during emergency drills, and thorough evaluations may cause drills to run a little bit longer.