SPENCER, WV (WOWK) – All five Roane County Schools will now start the school year with a safe and secure entrance.

Roane County Schools officials said the installation of a new, more secure entrance to Spencer Middle School was completed today, Aug. 23, 2022, just in time for the students to head back to the classroom Wednesday, Aug. 24.

According to school officials, the new entrances include an electronic door access control as well as penetration resistant doors, windows and walls.

“The safety and security of our students and staff has been a priority for Roane County as we made improvements to our facilities over the past four years, and opening this fall with 100% of schools protected by a secured entryway brings that priority to reality,” said Roane County Superintendent Dr. Richard Duncan.

Construction to make the entrances to the county’s schools more secure began in 2020 with Spencer Elementary School and Roane County High School. Officials say the efforts were 100% locally funded through the 2018 school bond levy passed during the election.

Roane County High Schools says the buildings also received upgraded parking and exterior lighting, roof replacements and repairs and improvements to the HVAC system. The bond that funded these upgrades also funded the study phase of a new Spencer Middle School.

Through the new system, school officials say all visitors will be required to enter through a secured entryway during the school day. Students and staff will still use the traditional entrances to arrive in the morning and leave in the afternoon. Visitors will stay in a waiting area until they are permitted to access other areas of the schools.