Grand Rapids-area high school unveils major security changes

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A West Michigan high school reveals major security upgrades as students return for the first day of classes.

Northview High School, in Grand Rapids, has poured more than 30 million into renovations, much of it aimed at making the school more secure.

Newschannel 3 toured the school Tuesday to get a closer look at the upgrades.

It all began back in 2011, when voters approved a bond for the renovations. Construction then began in 2012, and now finally, students are enjoying the upgrades.

Newschannel 3 spoke with Superintendent Michael Paskewicz Tuesday, who walked us through the changes, and with some students as they saw them firsthand.

"It's incredible, I have an older sibling that went here and to see it then to now, it's incredible," said senior Lyza Hockemeyer.

The renovation, which cost about $37 million, includes a number of safety features, including locked doors, which don't allow anyone in unless they're buzzed in; lower lockers to assist monitoring; lots of glass for visibility; and 360-degree views with 60 cameras stationed throughout the school.

And every camera can be watched by security from anywhere in the building on an iPad.

"Today, we have to make sure that we're proactive in building safety into every design that we do," Paskewicz said.

The school also has an armed Kent County deputy on staff.

"Seeing things happen like in other states with school security, it really makes you on your toes," Paskewicz said.

For their part, students seemed excited by the renovations.

"It love it a lot, the only thing I'm sad about, I'm only going to be here for one year, but I love it," said senior Malik Clincy.

While the renovations are making students feel safer, the staff is also reminding them to speak up if they do see something.

"You can't guarantee certainty that kids are going to be protected, but we can guarantee that we've taken every step that we can to prevent it," Paskewicz said.

Some work is still going on at the school, but the district says they expect the entire project to be finished by December.