WAUPACA, Wis. (WFRV) – School is eight days away in Waupaca. The shipments of doors and windows for the renovated single secure entry are at least a month away.

“It’s a little bit ambiguous, but overall, October is when we’re looking at finishing everything up,” School District of Waupaca building and grounds supervisor Matt Vassar said. “We’re kind of at the mercy of the distributor. We don’t have an exact date yet at this point.”

Supply chain issues have pushed back the completion of the new entryways at all four school buildings in the district. Those entrances will be the only ones used beginning on Friday, but the old camera and buzzer system will still be used to admit visitors.

“They’re just finishing up with the high school one right now, it won’t be completed until some of the pieces in the supply chain are delayed, so not until September or October, but we’ll be able to use it starting tomorrow,” School District of Waupaca district administrator Ron Saari said. “All entrants will come through this door, a single point of entrance.”

Single secure entries have been implemented at schools around the country to ensure more security at schools by having only one way in. Once the school day starts, those doors are locked, and any late students or other visitors need to be checked in by the receptionist.

Waupaca had already been using one entrance since 2019 when a student posted he was going to “bring a gun to Waupaca High School,” and receptionists buzzed guests in past the vestibule with the help of a camera.

“Everybody always thinks it’ll never happen here. But when you experience a threat, it brings those emotions home that it could happen anywhere,” Saari said. “We’re going to be able to know 100% who’s in our building after the doors close.”

The construction projects to give all four schools a single secure entry was part of a $3.875 million referendum passed last November.

One of the most important new features is the receptionist’s desk which has a large glass window to see the visitors who are buzzing in from the vestibule instead of using the camera. Once they determine to admit the visitor into the entryway, the visitor can drop off papers or envelopes in a slot underneath the window or larger items in a drop box under the desk.

Saari says this will be a useful aspect of the new entryways because visitors used to have to be admitted to the building just to drop off items.

“Secretaries were vetting visitors from a camera, and they didn’t have a direct line of sight,” Saari said. “Now they’re going to have a direct line of sight, and we’ve trained them to look for certain cues before they somebody in or not.”

The receptionists received a three-hour training session to prepare them for the change.

“We’re going to put an alternative window in until the real one comes, but it’ll still be functional, and we’ll still be able to buzz people in, just the way we used to do it instead of the new way,” he said. “Because the old technology is still there.”

There will only be one entrance, but all exits and fire exits will remain operational and locked from the outside.

“We got everything ordered when we needed to get it ordered, so the supply chain is the supply chain,” Vassar said. “Three years ago, we would’ve had this stuff before we even started building, now that’s not the case.”