Lockdown: Ivy Tech emergency drill runs smoothly

System would be used if a security or weather emergency should arise

By Mike Leonard
331-4368 | mleonard@heraldt.com
April 19, 2013

When a man allegedly threatened to “blow up” the main building at Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus last December, the community college launched its lockdown procedures and campus officials generally were pleased with the response.

The alert did expose a major shortcoming in campus security, however, Chancellor John Whikehart admitted this week.

“We didn’t have locks on the classroom doors,” he said. “We did everything in our plan right, but that was something no one ever pointed out or thought about.”

The campus has nearly completed the installation of locks on all classroom doors — a project that could cost as much as $20,000. In March, it activated a new Alertus system that sends out texts and emails if a weather or security emergency arises and even broadcasts alerts on every computer and video screen active on campus.

Late Thursday morning, the campus staged a lockdown drill with the assistance of the Indiana State Police and Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

“We did well. Everything worked like it was supposed to, and everyone did what they were supposed to do,” said Kyle Giles, security coordinator. “The officers who were here to assist said they were pleased at how quickly everyone responded and secured the facility.”

As soon as the lockdown announcement was made over the intercom system of the Connie and Steve Ferguson Academic Building, classroom doors shut, lights were turned off, blinds were drawn and students, faculty and staff moved away from windows. Video screens and computers displayed the lockdown message and mobile phones carried the warnings.

The roughly 10-minute lockdown affected five buildings where Ivy Tech Community College operates, including rented facilities on Liberty Drive and the John Waldron Arts Center in downtown Bloomington.

“From my perspective, it’s all about being prepared,” Giles said. “You never know when and you never know where you might have an intruder alert, a tornado warning, an unattended package that looks suspicious.”

The bombings at the Boston Marathon this week were certainly on everyone’s minds, although the drill had been planned well in advance.

“The only thing good you can say about that is that it served as a reminder for everyone that you have to take these things seriously,” Giles said.

Student Sabra Davis said her instructor warned her class in advance that Thursday’s drill was coming.

“I’m really glad, because after Boston I think people would have gotten pretty upset,” she said. “But since we knew it was a drill, everyone stayed calm and did what they were supposed to do. We knew why it was important to do it, too.”

Copyright: HeraldTimesOnline.com 2013


About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.