Andy Bronson / The Herald
                                After pushing a button, postal carrier Sheri Boober announces herself in front of video camera Friday at Hawthorne Elementary in Everett. Now anyone wanting to enter the school has to be buzzed in after using the intercom system.

Andy Bronson / The Herald After pushing a button, postal carrier Sheri Boober announces herself in front of video camera Friday at Hawthorne Elementary in Everett. Now anyone wanting to enter the school has to be buzzed in after using the intercom system.

District takes steps to secure school campuses

Safety measures have been enhanced at Hawthorne and Silver Firs elementary schools in Everett.

EVERETT — Two elementary schools in the Everett School District have added security measures to their front doors.

Except for pick-up and drop-off times, visitors have to use a video intercom to check in with the office. From there, they can be buzzed in.

The change went live at Hawthorne Elementary on Oct. 16 and Silver Firs Elementary on Nov. 6. In the coming months, both schools also will use newly installed electronic access systems. Staff will carry cards that unlock certain doors digitally. Similar technology protects many office and apartment buildings.

Eventually, the intercoms and card readers will be rolled out to all 26 campuses in the district, said Darcy Walker, the director of facilities and planning. The work is funded by the 2016 capital levy.

Schools see the same unwelcome visitors as do businesses and other property owners, said Everett police Sgt. Tim Reeves, who oversees the school resource officers. Those visitors can cause disturbances and prompt 911 calls.

“Our first concern is the safety of the kids,” he said. “We want to make sure the people on the school grounds belong on the school grounds.”

Hawthorne is in the city’s north end, in the Delta neighborhood. It was built in 1952 and remodeled in 1992. The floor plan made it possible for visitors to walk in the front door without being seen by office staff, said Mary Waggoner, a district spokeswoman. A doorbell system was added later: Staff had to answer the door in person.

Many schools have security challenges, especially those built before the millennium.

Silver Firs opened in 1988 in unincorporated Everett near Cathcart Way. It has a courtyard with two main entrances: the office and the gymnasium-cafeteria. A gate has been added around the courtyard.

The upgrades at Hawthorne and Silver Firs cost about $147,400 altogether. Expanding the program district-wide is expected to take a few years.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @rikkiking.

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