New Halifax elementary school to be built with automated lockdown system

When a button is pressed, it will activate an automated announcement, strobe lights and an external digital sign indicating the school is in lockdown.

Button will activate announcement, strobe lights, external digital sign

The new school, which will serve students in grades Primary to 6, will feature an automated lockdown system. (Shutterstock/Jay Limsirichai)

A new elementary school to be built in south-end Halifax will come equipped with a lockdown system complete with automated announcements, blue strobe lights and an exterior warning sign.

The new school, which will serve students in grades Primary to 6, will be constructed on the site of the former LeMarchant-St. Thomas Elementary School at 6141 Watt St.

The provincial Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Department issued a tender for the school's construction on Thursday.

When an activation button is pressed, an announcement will play for 30 to 60 seconds to indicate that the school is in lockdown.

The system will also send a signal to the door access controller, which will restrict who is authorized to enter using a card or the keypad reader.

Blue interior and exterior strobe lights will flash at a rate of once per second, and an LED digital sign outside the school will light up with the words, "School in lockdown. Do not enter."

A reset button will deactivate the system when the lockdown is over.

The system will cost about $25,000.

The province has issued a tender for the construction of a new school for grades Primary to 6 in south-end Halifax. (Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)

A spokesperson for the Education Department said 13 schools in the province have — or will have once they are open — a safety communication system to be used in the event of a drill or a potential threat.

Construction of the new school is to be completed by July 31, 2019, according to the tender, and the school is scheduled to open in September 2019.

The school, which has not yet been named, will also feature a two-storey library including a quiet room, a large open area called the "Davinci studio maker space" for students to work on creative projects, a climbing wall on the outside of the building and a Level 2 electric vehicle charging station.

Existing playground structures will remain on the site during construction and new structures will be added.

The building will be LEED Gold certified, a marker of sustainable design and construction.

An open space next to the cafeteria will be called the Davinci studio. (Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)
An artist's rendering of the cafeteria at the new school to be built in south-end Halifax. (Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)