Updated: Bomb threat prompts evacuation at DCC

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Students and staff were evacuated from Discovery Canyon Campus Wednesday afternoon because of a bomb threat tip and relocated to New Life Church, awaiting to be reunited with parents.

"Today at approximately 11:45 am we received a bomb threat at DCC. In collaboration with the Colorado Springs Police Department, the decision was made to evacuate the campus. Once the decision was made we were very pleased with the evacuation process evacuating over 2,500 students and staff in just over an hour. I also want to personally thank you for the cooperation and patience you and your students displayed during today’s evacuation and reunification at New Life Church," said a message to DCC parents from D-20 Superintendent Mark Hatchell Wednesday night.

"I apologize that the process to reunite with your students at New Life Church took longer than anticipated. We made every effort to release students to the correct adults because safety of students is our priority."

"I also want to thank all DCC staff members who supervised their students throughout the process. I also want to thank our transportation department, our Sodexo staff, and the staff at New Life Church," Hatchell said.

"District Security and the Colorado Springs Police Department have thoroughly checked the campus and we will resume normal school operations on Thursday," he said.

According to the district, "Discovery Canyon Campus received notification Wednesday from Safe2Tell of reports that someone had planted explosive devices, one at each level, in the Campus. After the surrounding area (parking lots, fields, etc.) were checked for safety by the Colorado Springs Police Department and District Security, we evacuated all students to a safe place away from the building. At that time, CSPD, the Colorado Springs Fire Department, and District Security brought in the K9 units to clear the building. Upon hearing that it would take at least two hours to do so, and taking into consideration the heat, the decision was made to evacuate to New Life Church," said a letter to parents.

"The purpose of this letter is to let you know what happened to initiate the campus evacuation, what happened during the evacuation, what happened during the reunification and what will happen in immediate future," the letter said.

"Obviously evacuating over 2,500 students and staff is a major event. The good news is that students and staff performed remarkably! Everything was orderly from the moment we left the building until the students were reunified with their parents. Once New Life was cleared, teachers returned to the building to be briefed on the events and collect their belongings."

The letter addressed future actions.

"Now that the building has been checked, school will take place as scheduled today. Police will do all they can to find who made the threat... false reporting of a bomb is a serious felony. DCC, District Staff, CSPD and the Bomb Unit will debrief on the events and make sure that all procedures took place as they should have. If adjustments are needed, we will modify our plans to best meet the needs of our students."

Wednesday afternoon, parents received the following message:

"DCC students and staff have been evacuated as a precaution after a tip about a bomb threat was brought to the attention of the D-20 security staff before noon this morning. Law enforcement officers and security officers are searching the school buildings. All students and staff members are safe and students are being supervised," an email message to parents said.

"Students will not be allowed back in the schools this afternoon. Parents are asked not to come to the school. Students are being transported to New Life Church by Academy District 20 buses. Parents are asked to please reunite with students at the west entrance of New Life Church at 11025 Voyager,"

Because of the evacuation, all activities were cancelled.

"Due to the evacuation, all athletic competitions (home and away), practices and activities have been cancelled," said a D-20 officials in a message early Wednesday afternoon.

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