TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - The first day of school is less than a week away and for students at Hillsborough High School.
They will be returning to a much more secure campus.
Starting Monday after that first-period bell rings at 8:30. There will only be one way in and one way out for anyone visiting Hillsborough High School.
The school recently completed a new secure entrance that will serve as a checkpoint for anyone entering the building.
It is their way to make sure that the only people inside the school are the ones that are actually supposed to be there.
Hillsborough High School's trophy case is filled with proud accomplishments; shiny mementos displayed under lock-and-key. The students behind those awards are even more valuable, making their security all the more important.
"The things that will keep you up at night are students' safety, facility's safety," said Principal Gary Brady. "Safety and security is at the forefront of everyone's mind right now. So for us, we're saying this a safety and security issue only. We don't want anyone in here who doesn't have a distinct purpose for being here."
With that in mind, the school created a new room to serve as a checkpoint for any visitors entering the building. Before the addition, most visitors entered through the north door, where the only security measure in place was a buzzer and camera, with the doors leading right into the school's main hallway.
"We looked at all our campuses, looked at some vulnerabilities, and some of them required a vestibule build out. So Hillsborough High School, built in the 1927, this was an open corridor, that you could come from the outside to the inside but it had no controls on it," explained Security and Emergency Management Chief John Newman.
They decided to close that space off, making it a secure entrance where guests will need to sign-in and swipe their ID before they make it inside the school.
"Building a vestibule where people can buzz and be allowed in, but not be able to get into the campus itself, slows down your visitors, you know who's on your campus," said Newman.
The changes are part of the district's goal to make its buildings as safe and secure as possible.
"Every person from 8:30 to 3:30 who walks in here is being stopped and asked what they're doing, their ID is being checked," Principal Brady said. "That's a great deal of comfort for us."
Now Hillsborough High School joins four other high schools in the county with newly built security entrance vestibules. Officials said other schools in the already had their own security checkpoints in place to keep track of who is coming and going.