Photos by Amber Bartlett
By Kirstin Nichols
As part of a countywide effort to increase school security, construction of a security vestibule is underway in the main lobby at Arundel High School.
Although the construction is fairly recent, having begun in June of 2019, Arundel High School has long been awaiting an improvement to its security system. “Things like this take years to do. With the main office being in the middle of the administrative hallway, they’ve known for a long time it needed to be done,” said Ms. Stickney, Business Manager and school contact for this project.
The vestibule consists of two sets of doors behind the original front entrance, and is meant to “keep as much traffic out of the main office (as possible)”, according to Ms. Stickney. With this addition, school visitors will show their ID at the outdoor buzzer as always, but instead of traveling to the main office, they will wait in the vestibule just beyond the front doors where sofa chairs will be provided. The attendance office will be moved to this area to further limit the amount of people entering the school building. In order to travel beyond the vestibule, visitors must be “buzzed in” to the school for a second time once inside. According to Ms. Stickney, the only reason this would be necessary is if a visitor is attending a meeting inside the school, in which case, an Arundel employee would retrieve the visitor and walk them to the location of the meeting. All other reasons for entering the school, including dropping off items or picking a student up for early dismissal, will be handled solely in this vestibule.
Although construction was projected to be completed before the first day of the 2019-2020 school year (September 5th), it is still a work in progress due to changes to the original contract. “They came across some things that they didn’t foresee… and every single school is different,” Ms. Stickney said.
Arundel staff is hoping that this installment will help protect students. “Over the years with different school shootings… (the Board of Education) learn(s) something every time.”