Walls Add Element of Safety to Walkway Travels


Isabelle Southard

McDowell High School implements new security measures to esure safety on the walkway.

Jillian Preston, Staff Writer

McDowell has been making major changes to school security within this last year.  The newest addition to McDowell is the cement walls along the walkway connecting McDowell Intermediate High School and McDowell Senior High School. 

Since the walkway is exposed, the district was concerned that the area could be a potential threat for students encountering public predators, car crashes or school shootings. The district was interested in creating a  barrier between the students and the public. 

Officer Nathan Spiker, supervisor of safety for the district, said, “The wall itself was being addressed now for over a year and a half. The board had asked the advice of the local police and myself. The concern with the walkway is that students are exposed to the public, as well as the travel doors being vulnerable during this time.” 

McDowell received a school safety grant of $25,000 for security advancements. With overwhelming concern from the board, the decision to build walls was made earlier this year. 

“(Superintendent) William Hall made a decision to go with a band-aid approach with all the options being very expensive, he chose to go with phase one. That being five sections of entirely cement half walls, creating a safe spot for students traveling,” Spiker said.

The walls were built 14 feet wide and four feet tall, with 58 feet between each wall to leave room to escape if needed. There are a total of five cement walls facing the parking lot side of the walkway. 

In the future, the district plans to gate in the McDowell Senior High School’s parking lot to limit public use, but long term, eliminating the need for a walkway at all would be ideal. 

“The wall itself and the walkway is still under consideration with the lifespan of McDowell itself still in mind,” Spiker said. “There is hope to soon get a building with grades 9-12 all in one. This would eliminate the traveling problem completely.”