Don’t be alarmed if you see police officers prowling around the roof of the old Desert Hills Middle School in Kennewick — or hear some explosions.
The former classrooms are being used for a different kind of schooling.
Members of Tri-Cities Regional SWAT and the Richland Bomb Squad teamed up Thursday to practice using explosives to enter rooms.
The school district plans to demolish most of the buildings on the campus to make way for a new dual-language elementary school on the site.
The move follows the construction of the new Desert Hills and Chinook middle schools in other locations.
Richland police Capt. Mike Cobb said buildings provide a unique opportunity for officers to practice in a large structure.
Explosives can be used to enter rooms through the wall, door or window. Officers can direct the blasts to remove hinges or locks, for example.
“It’s very situational,” Cobb said. “That’s why we have experts on the team that can figure that stuff out. We’re extremely fortunate in the Tri-Cities to have the level of expertise that we do.”