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Say Hello to the New “Welcome Gate House”

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Say Hello to the New “Welcome Gate House”

Claire Arriaga '19

Claire Arriaga '19

Claire Arriaga '19

Claire Arriaga, Campus Reporter

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During the fall of 2017, a discussion began within the executive branch of Kent School regarding campus and student safety, the results of which are now visible at the main entrances to campus.

The most visible addition is the “Welcome Gate House,” which sits just inside the main gates of the School. Though primarily installed for security reasons, the gate house has come to play a much more important role in the community. It is a form of hospitality for the visitors, a welcoming place to consult about parking, access buildings, and the scheduling of games.

In addition to the welcome gate house at the main entryway, automatic ports were placed at the entrances by the hockey rink and the back of campus. Each are monitored by cameras and overseen within the welcome house. The project was undertaken by S.L.A.M Collaborative from Glastonbury, Connecticut. They launched construction over the summer of 2018, and by Christmas Break of the same year, the project was fully operational.

The structures are part of a grander program, including the electronic lock systems in the buildings, and the addition of a local, resident trooper in Kent. Headmaster Fr. Schell expressed the concern about the “implication of violence in schools across the country,” and said there was question of whether or not “Kent school was taking every necessary step to reduce the risk of something happening here.” Presently, there are no new plans to increase security, “but we are always studying the state of the art and industry standards in these regards, looking at other institutions, schools looking at the chances they are taking for community safety.” He stresses that, “it is still an open campus, no fences, no walls, people come and go freely.”

Now, the campus is simply more closely monitored and supervised with infrastructure improvements, more people, and more technology in order to ensure the safety of the people who live, work, and go to school here. This reform is a result of the greater risk associated with school violence in the last several decades.

Fr. Schell describes the decision as “Not a philosophy change. It is an emphasis: safety first.”

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Say Hello to the New “Welcome Gate House”