Bulletproof doors, windows slated for these Middle Tennessee schools

The bill requires newly built or renovated schools to have bullet proof glass and doors.
The measure would allow security officers to see what is inside a bag quicker and streamline the entry process.
Published: May. 11, 2023 at 12:02 PM CDT|Updated: May. 11, 2023 at 9:14 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a school safety bill into law on Wednesday aimed at preventing school shootings and now, WSMV4 has learned of some schools slated to have these increased safety measures implemented.

The bill requires all schools built or remodeled after July 1 to have bulletproof windows and doors.

Two Metro schools scheduled to be built or renovated after July 2023, Percy Priest Elementary and Paragon Mills Elementary, “will be designed and constructed with the features required in the new law that was signed,” according to a spokesman with Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Melia Clark has a fourth grader at Percy Priest Elementary. The school went on lockdown when a gunman shot through glass to gain entry to The Covenant School, a few minutes away.

“I mean anything they can do to prevent people from doing that kind of thing, from hunting my baby, is perfect,” Clark said.

WSMV4 also asked Metro Schools if it has addressed the requirements under the newly signed school safety bill.

“Our operations and facilities team has been working with fire and police officials to review the changes in the law and ensure we are in compliance with the changes while also maintaining fire-life safety standards and first responder access in the event of an emergency ... It refers to making sure firefighters or first responders can gain access and remove people in the event of an emergency,” a spokesman said.

Below is a list of major projects with start dates and anticipated completion dates from MNPS:

Project TypeSchoolConstruction Start DateAnticipated Construction Completion Date
Replacement SchoolGoodlettsville ElementaryJanuary 2022August 2023
Replacement SchoolLakeview ElementaryJuly 2023August 2025
Replacement SchoolHillwood High SchoolSeptember 2020August 2023
Classroom AdditionCane Ridge High SchoolAugust 2022December 2023
Classroom AdditionOld Center ElementaryMay 2023August 2024
Addition & RenovationParagon Mills ElementarySeptember 2023August 2025
Replacement SchoolPercy Priest ElementaryOctober 2023August 2025
Band Room AdditionMeigs Middle SchoolMarch 2023October 2023
Track Facility UpgradeHunters Lane High SchoolFebruary 2023August 2023

Rutherford County Schools said it has received funding for three new high schools, but the construction is expected to start in June, so it won’t be impacted by the bill. The school system is also seeking funding for an elementary school.

“We have not addressed this requirement yet. It will be part of our ongoing building program discussions moving forward,” a spokesman with RCS said.

Meanwhile, Wilson County Schools said the renovation of Mount Juliet Middle School is expected to begin this summer or into the fall semester. If it goes into the fall semester, contractors will be working after school hours since it’s all interior work, according to WCS.

The elementary school planned for Double Log Cabin Road is currently in the planning stages and the next steps will be to obtain funding from the county commission, the school system said. Director of Schools Jeff Luttrell said he hopes that the project will be funded this summer so work can begin in the fall.

“We are looking at some security improvement projects, but currently they are in the planning stage as well. The Double Log Cabin property will also have a middle school campus, but there is no timeline for that project,” a spokesman with WCS said.

WSMV4 has also reached out to several other school districts nearby if any schools are scheduled to be built or remodeled after July 1, and if they’ve addressed the requirements under the new bill. We’re still waiting to hear back.

The bill, which calls for enhanced security measures at all Tennessee schools, passed through the state legislature in April and was sent to Lee’s desk to sign. The bill invests $230 million to strengthen safety at public and private schools across Tennessee and places several new requirements on schools to stop another school shooting. Gov. Bill Lee introduced the bill after six people, including three children, were killed at The Covenant School in Nashville on March 27.

While the bill requires all schools built or remodeled after July 1 to have bulletproof windows and doors, an armed security guard will also be placed at every public school. The safety bill enacts a multi-tiered accountability plan to ensure exterior doors are locked while students are present, according to a media release from the governor’s office.