Secured vestibules add another layer of safety to CFISD campuses

 

Feb. 21, 2018—Security isn’t a one-stop shop or simple, instead functioning at its best with multiple layers and protocols.

Having those layers were the exact point being made when secured vestibules were included as part of the $55 million safety and security upgrades in the 2014 Bond program. Other upgrades included secured front entrances with buzzer door releases, bullet-resistant glass, added security cameras, card reader access points and “lockdown” panic buttons.

All security upgrades are scheduled to be completed by December 2018. As of February 2018, the project to complete the installation of vestibules in the district has been awarded.

secured vestibule at Francone Elementary School
The secured vestibule at Francone Elementary School is among the $55 million safety and security upgrades in the 2014 Bond program. In addition to the vestibules, the upgrades include secured front entrances with buzzer door releases, bullet-resistant glass, added security cameras, card reader access points and “lockdown” panic buttons.

Adding an additional layer of security, the vestibules provide a secured space at the front of a given campus. Normally with two or three sets of doors (one leads to the front office), the vestibule keeps visitors from accessing the entire school unless first going through the reception sign-in area. After a visitor is identified at the main entrance, which is secured with a video phone and buzzer door release, he or she must still get authorization as the remaining doors in the vestibule are locked.

If the person is deemed a threat, he or she can be contained in the vestibule.

“The whole purpose of these enhancements that we’re doing is to hopefully slow down a potential intruder coming into the building to allow law enforcement enough time to be able to engage and get control of the situation that may be at hand at the campus,” said Roy Sprague, CFISD chief operations officer.

 Newer campuses have secured vestibules included as part of the design. That includes Bridgeland High School and Wells and Hoover elementary schools, which all opened in August 2017.

Secured vestibules added to existing CFISD campuses
Secured vestibules added to existing CFISD campuses, like this one at Willbern Elementary School, were included as part of the $55 million safety and security upgrades in the 2014 Bond program.

“We could design the building and make sure we work the administration areas and front entry to make the vestibule design work very easily,” Sprague said. “When we go do a renovation at an existing school, we have a few more challenges because those buildings were designed a little bit differently and we have a variety of different conditions. So we’ve had to look at unique solutions to address the security vestibule installations at those campuses.”

Added with buzzer door releases, bullet-resistant glass, security cameras and card reader access points, secured vestibules gives different layers.

Campus employees and those authorized for that specific school can use their identification cards to gain access through the main entrance and vestibule. But for visitors and those without clearance for a given campus, the multi-layered protocol to enter the schools enhances and adds to the safety.

“The vestibules really work well for that,” Sprague said. “We can keep someone contained within the vestibule to allow either the officer on campus to be able to respond quickly or get additional reinforcement from law enforcement to be able to address the situation at hand.”