Gateway High School is set to open its doors next school year with new technology meant to keep it safe.
Officials celebrated its ribbon-cutting on Wednesday. The school will be home to 1,200 students and is designed with student safety in mind.
New technology installed is focused on protection after the shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas School.
The security starts at an old-fashioned guard gate as the only point of entry where people cannot get in without an ID.
The latest security cameras have visitors in view before they even enter the school.
Lee County designed the school so that if anything happens, teachers, students and staff can stay safe.
That’s good news for Jaeden Browning and Ashley Carcamo-Najera, two ninth graders set to begin their high school career at the school next year.
“I just wanted to be a part of the tradition and the community,” Jaeden said.
She and Ashley gave up their old school, old friends, to start all over again at Gateway High School.
“It was hard at first, considering we didn’t know each other,” Ashley said.
A cheerleader, she’s used to taking leaps of faith, but she already feels secure at the new school.
“If anything happens, they’ll be there to fall back on,” she said.
On top of the county’s newest security system, inside each classroom, teachers can communicate with the office without a cellphone.
Safety lets students focus on all of the programs Principal Neketa Watson built into the school.
“Coming from a middle school and one of the oldest middle schools in Lee County. So it is definitely important to have a state-of-the-art building with high tech security, high tech cameras,” Watson said.
The school opens Aug. 10. The building can accommodate 2,000 students.
“I want to stand out and be the first class of 2024,” Jaeden said.
“Now we’re all like a big great family,” Ashley said.