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updated: 5/20/2014 6:53 PM

Security changes planned for Libertyville, Vernon Hills high schools

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Visitors to Libertyville and Vernon Hills high schools will encounter more stringent -- and more visible -- security measures starting this summer.

Parents or other guests at the sister campuses will have to undergo security checks in locked, enclosed areas before being allowed to proceed into the buildings.

Additionally, the security workers conducting the checks will be separated from the public by glass and brick partitions, Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 spokeswoman Mary Todoric said in an email.

For the last few years, visitors checked in at desks just inside the main entrances at either school. That's typical for high schools around Lake County.

But to prevent mass shootings like the ones in Newtown, Connecticut, or Columbine, Colorado, steps like these are necessary, officials said.

"I think it's a sign of the times," District 128 board member Alex Delli Paoli Jr. said. "It's time to step up our game."

The school board agreed Monday to hire a Willowbrook firm called Troop Contracting to build the security checkpoints. The company will be paid $225,000 for the work.

Construction could start soon and should be done by August, officials said. It will not disrupt students at the schools, Todoric said.

Two enclosed security checkpoints will be built at Libertyville High, Todoric said -- one at the front of the school and one at a rear entrance.

One checkpoint will be built at Vernon Hills High, in the main entranceway.

Yasmine Dada, the district's assistant superintendent for business, said the security changes weren't prompted by incidents at either school.

"The changes are similar to those being made at schools nationwide, and (they) are being made here with the safety of our students and staff in mind," Dada said in an email.

More security upgrades are coming to the two schools, board President Pat Groody said, including changes to the door locks and the camera systems.

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