Evanston invests in security improvements

Better safe than sorry.

Both the front and back entrances in the building have undergone or will undergo renovations and security changes, in order to improve the safety of the school.

The renovations in the back, which both changed the look and improved the safety of the Bacon entrance, took place over Spring Break.

“I think we already have a fairly good safety system; it’s simply an improvement to the system,” said Sam Pettineo, Director of Safety. “The entire intention of these improvements is to better manage our control of access in the building, so that we know who is in the school and why they’re in the school.”

The front door renovations will be made over the summer.

“At this point, if we had an active shooter come in, he would already be in the building before anyone in the safety office saw him,” said Pettineo. “Once you’re at the front doors, you’re all the way into the hall before anyone knows you’re here. After these changes, after around 8:45, the only way to get in would be through the safety office.”

Contrary to rumors, bulletproof glass will not be added to the entrance doors, though the security improvements include greater protection in the doors.

“I don’t know why people are talking about that; it’s not bulletproof,” said Pettineo. “We’re just coating the doors to better protect them from a certain amount of gunfire, and to make it harder for bullets to enter through the doors.”

ETHS received a grant of $82,000 from the State of Illinois for security upgrades. The rest will be included in the $6 million in the Capital Improvements Plan that the School Board approved in January. Bill Stafford, chief financial officer, estimated that the back renovations cost $90,000 to $100,000 and the front renovations will cost $250,000 to $300,000.

“We’re excited about the new entrance,” said Stafford. “It’ll be the same entrance when you come in, but the Safety Office is going to be next to the entrance, and that whole office is set up to have a welcome desk when you come in as well.”