Roanoke City Schools reconstructs school entrances for extra security

Lucy Addison Middle School among schools renovated during summer

ROANOKE, Va. – If you want to pick your child up from school, your experience might be a little bit different this year.

Roanoke City Public Schools has finished renovating several schools in the district with more secure entrances. The schools affected are Monterey Elementary School, Lincoln Terrace Elementary School, Morningside Elementary School, Fishburn Park Elementary School, Woodrow Wilson Middle School and Lucy Addison Middle School.

"The traumatic effect of school shootings has brought about greater thinking when it comes to safety and security," said Roanoke City Schools Chief of Security Chris Perkins.

Lucy Addison's renovation now features a giant glass wall dividing the visitors entrance from the rest of the school. The school also moved some of its offices closer to the front so visitors could be kept away from the main halls of the school.

"Initially, anybody had access to the school through all eight front doors," Perkins said.  "I wanted people to walk in and be able to see the school and not feel like they were in an enclosed area. We wanted it to be open and be safe at the same time."

Perkins says the biggest challenge was balancing school security with providing a suitable atmosphere for students.

"We want our kids to feel good," Perkins said. "If they're coming to something like prison, why would they want to come into a school like that? What's the message? We thought a lot about what we're communicating and how we're communicating it."

Other area schools have also made strides toward security. Lynchburg City Schools has one student resource officer for every middle and high school in the district, Franklin County Schools just added additional school resource officers and Danvile City Schools recently upgraded its surveillance system.