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Chesterfield schools adding new security features

Billy Shields
VPM News
This summer, Chesterfield County is outfitting 38 public schools with new security features.

Standardized vestibules are being installed across the county.

When classes start back up in late August, students, teachers and parents will have to adjust to new layouts at more than half of Chesterfield County’s public schools. Construction crews are installing vestibules in school entrances that don’t already have them.

Often described as a “security air-lock,” the vestibules have two controlled doorways. Visitors buzz in at a door monitored by a camera, enter the vestibule and then run their identification through a system called RAPTOR. If they’re allowed to pass through the entrance, they’re issued a sticker badge.

“Safety and security is one of our most important objectives for our school system in Chesterfield, and some of our buildings were not designed with what we’d consider a secure vestibule,” said Josh Davis, chief operations officer for the school division.

The three-phase project will be installed by multiple contractors and cost $5.3 million.

“At the end of the day, we’ll have had 38 schools equipped with vestibules, creating a much safer environment for teaching and learning,” said Scott Carson, chief of construction at Chesterfield schools.

The rest of the roughly 70 public schools in the county already have vestibule layouts built into their design. Officials said the project should be complete when classes begin for elementary schools on Aug. 19.

Billy Shields is a multimedia journalist with VPM News Focal Point.
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