A change in state safety codes means the Thompson School District will have to replace the knobs on 1,140 doors at a cost of up to $600,000.
The Reporter Herald reports the state fire code was updated in 2015 to address a need for teachers to quickly lock their doors from inside their classrooms in the event of an emergency.
Schools have been able to use magnets over locking mechanisms, allowing doors to be easily opened throughout the day and still lock quickly by simply removing the magnet. But by Jan. 1, 2018, that quick fix will no longer be enough, and all doorknobs in all schools statewide must be changed. Doors are designed to create a barrier during a fire, and the magnets interfere with the seal that creates that barrier.