BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - The mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut three years ago has resulted in safer schools in Bay St. Louis. The Bay-Waveland School District just completed a $2-million project to boost safety and security at two campuses.
The courtyard is a popular lunch time gathering spot for students at Bay High School. That area was once exposed to the public, but not any more.
"I feel a lot safer from the new fencing and all the new security procedures," said Bay High Junior Cameron Breland.
The Bay-Waveland School District completely enclosed the campus with brick and aluminum fencing. The area where the JROTC and band members practice is also closed-off now.
"Because of the gates around the school, it kind of keeps it all secure and together and makes us feel together. Nobody can just walk through the school," said Bay High Junior Addie Haas.
The district also installed energy-efficient LED lights around the campus. Look closely and you can see many posts have surveillance cameras on them.
"I think the upgrades are fantastic! It has really brought a sense of security to the campus," said Bay High Teacher Brad Ladner.
Other safety upgrades are in place, like 150-additional parking spaces, ADA compliant sidewalks, and caution lighting. The district made similar improvements at Bay-Waveland Middle School. The changes came about after the Sandy Hook tragedy prompted the district to make safety a top priority.
"That the district does care enough about the safety of the kids, I like that," said Ladner. "The security procedures help us on the day-to-day procedures with the students. They know where they can go. They know where they can't go. They know they can feel secure and that's a big thing."
The next phase starts this summer. That project involves moving the entrance at Bay High from the back of the campus, so it faces Blue Meadow Road. The goal is to reduce 20-access points to only one.
"That will completely enclose us so visitors who come in will have to be buzzed in through the front of the campus," said Bay High Principal Dr. Amy Coyne. "It's a relief to have a little bit behind us, but it's aesthetically more pleasing as well. We have a prettier campus."
The school district's capital improvement funds paid for the Safety Infrastructure Project.