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School safety top of mind with latest upgrades in Kamloops-Thompson district

Doors and locks have already been upgraded at NorKam Secondary, a step being taken throughout the district to increase safety and accessibility.
December 02, 2015 - 4:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - Local schools will become a little bit safer over the coming years, and at a lesser cost than originally expected.

Locks and door handles in schools across the Kamloops-Thompson School District will be replaced over the next four to five years, according to director of facilities Art McDonald. So far three buildings — the district maintenance building, NorKam Secondary and Bert Edwards Elementary — have been completed.

“Originally we had a budget of $2 million but the pricing we received was better than that,” McDonald says, adding the upgrades are more likely to cost closer to $1.2 million.

District schools are quite old, Supt. Karl deBruijn says, adding the locks and door knobs don’t service current needs. Knobs will be replaced with latch or lever type handles in an effort to make schools more accessible for students unable to turn a door knob.

Safety is also a key concern of the upgrades.

“A lot of the locks can't be locked at all. We can't lock down buildings,” deBruijn says.

McDonald says the upgrades are a safety precaution, and because of an increased risk at district schools. 

“It's like an airbag in your car. You may never need it but it’s there in case you do,” McDonald says, “We just want to be prepared.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dana Reynolds at or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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