Security Vestibules added at Northfield

Construction will be completed in mid-October

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With the start of a new school year both campuses welcomed students back with open arms and brand new security measures.

Over the summer the Northfield campus devoted 3.9 million dollars to installing two vestibules, as well as fencing around the campus. The project lowers the number of entrances in the school from five to two and is estimated to be completed by mid-October.

Athena Arvanitis, Assistant Principal for Student Programs and Operations, helped to lead this project.

“After thorough security audits and given the recent tragedies involving danger on school campuses around the country, it was recommended by our security consultants that these security measures be put in place,” explained Arvanitis.

“The community has been overwhelmingly supportive of the safety enhancements,” Arvanitis added.

In addition to the aesthetic changes to the campus, new lock down protocols have been put in place. These protocols allow for teachers, using their IDs, to trigger a lockdown which will automatically lock specific doors.

For Kristen Smith, a science teacher at the Northfield campus, this shift helps to remove some of the burdens teachers must face in an emergency situation.

“I feel this takes the pressure off teachers to have to go into the hallways and lock so many doors on our own with our many keys. I have different keys for science alone, and athletics has three or four,” Smith said.

Students on the campus have also found comfort in the new features, although many still do not understand the new features and view them as more of an inconvenience.

Freshman Sam Gordon believes the new features seem like an inconvenient mystery to her and friends, rather than a reassurance of safety.

“They make it harder to get to a couple of my classes. I honestly don’t understand why we need them and what they do,” said Gordon.

Hannah Kaplan, a freshman, echoed Sam’s confusion as to the new features’ purposes as well as the wish that faculty would help to explain these shifts further.

“My teachers have talked briefly about the fence, but other than that my teachers feel that it’s not super important to thoroughly explain everything, which I kind of understand,” Kaplan said. “But at the same time, I know both myself and peers want more knowledge on what is going on with the security system.”

Despite her confusion, Kaplan remained confident that these new measures are a good step and will help the school.

“I definitely feel more safe with the fence and locked doors. All in all I feel like in the long run, NT is going to be a lot more safe and students, parents and faculty alike will rest assured that we are safe,” emphasized Kaplan.

While the new safety measures certainly make the school safer, former students and current teachers alike didn’t feel unsafe on the campus prior to the new additions.

Junior Chelsea Lu sees the value in the new features but felt secure during her time at the Northfield campus.

“Personally, I’ve never felt unsafe at school or that my life was ever in danger, but I do understand the utility and perception the fence provides. Because of the rise of general violence and gun culture, I do think the fence is appropriate,” Lu said.

Smith agreed with Lu in that she didn’t feel unsafe on the campus, however she has noted a growing uneasiness in the past few years.

“I did feel safe, but I am a little more cautious in this day and age than I was even 3 years ago,” Smith said.

Although no fence has been added to the Winnetka campus, new cameras have been added to side entrances ensuring that students do not open doors for strangers. Shatter proof film has also been installed in both schools.

Surrounding the new safety measures is a melancholy feeling among both the staff and the students that such measures need to be taken in the first place.

Junior Tatum Richardson reflected upon the need for safety precautions.

“I’m sure that these new measures will help to make New Trier more safe, it’s just sad that measures need to be taken at all,” Richardson said.

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