UTAH COUNTY -- If voters in Utah county say ‘yes’ this November, security upgrades could be coming to many schools in the Alpine School District.
“We need to be sure that our kids are learning in a safe environment,” said David Stephenson, administrator of public relations for the Alpine School District.
The Alpine School District has proposed a $387 million bond, and it's not just to build more schools. The district wants to improve safety measures everywhere.
“We want people to feel welcome here, but yet we want to keep their kids safe,” said Cami Larsen, Principal at Black Ridge Elementary School in Eagle Mountain.
Larsen said after the threat to Eagle Valley Elementary earlier this month, safety is on everyone’s mind.
“I had a few parents email me and call the school and ask, 'What are you doing about this?' ...and so I was able to explain the plan that we already had in place,” Larsen said.
On September 19, police say 35-year-old Christopher Craig drove his car on school grounds at Eagle Valley Elementary and claimed it was loaded with explosives. The secretary in the front office in the school was the first to spot him.
“Her office was there at the front of the school, and she was able to get on and dial 911 before the person even came in to the school,” Stephenson said.
And thanks to that 911 call, everyone quickly evacuated safely. Craig was arrested, and no explosives were found. Now the district believes every school should have a front office serving as the sole point of entry, as well as other safety upgrades.
“We were the first building in Alpine School District that was built with this entrance,” Larsen said.
Black Ridge Elementary has only one way into the building. Guests come to the front office, where they are buzzed in. It's the only way into the school, as all other doors are locked from the outside. For many schools in the district, the front office would have to be relocated or rearranged to achieve a similar set up.
Its one of many ways the district wants to keep kids safe. In addition, they want all schools to have things like security cameras and key card entrances.
“Overall, especially with everything that's been going on lately, we’ve had so many parents thank us for having this, they’ve just been really grateful,” Larsen said.
On November 8, voters will get to decide if upgrades like these will be put in every school. Due to the increase in tax payers in the area, if the bond passes it will not require an increase in property tax rates.
“All the schools out here really take our stewardship seriously with the safety of the kids and protecting them, and we’re all doing the best that we can with what we have," Larsen said.