Kent’s ShoWare Center enhances security measures

People who attend events at Kent’s ShoWare Center face enhanced security measures, including metal detector wands.

SMG, which operates the city-owned arena, started the new procedures in early July.

“With what we have seen over the last couple of years with buildings, it’s just sort of how the world is going right now,” said Josh Holmes, ShoWare operations director, in a report last week to the Public Facilities District board that helps oversee the arena.

The bombing in May that killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert at England’s Manchester Arena led to tighter security measures at the ShoWare Center and entertainment venues throughout the nation, said Tim Higgins, ShoWare general manager.

“That was a SMG building,” Higgins said about the Philadelphia-based venue management company. “There’s been a big initiative with security with our building and actually a big initiative throughout the country. We are all taking the next step with security to make sure patrons are safe.”

Holmes said the first few events with the new rules went pretty smoothly.

“It’s been a little more seamless than I thought it would be so far,” he said.

It helps people that other venues in the Seattle area put in stricter security rules before the ShoWare Center.

“People are expecting it,” Higgins said. “There is an expectation that we do this. I guess they are used to it from CenturyLink and Safeco and some of the restrictions there.”

The key changes include:

• Metal detector wands to be used at all points of entry

• Backpacks are prohibited from entering the arena

• Bags, including handbags and purses, may not be larger than 14 inches by 14 inches by 6 inches

• All bags, regardless of size, are subject to a pre-entry search

At a recent concert by rapper Logic, promoters wanted a zero bags policy. ShoWare officials brought in a truck with portable lockers to store items for people until after the concert. Higgins said a portable locker won’t be a regular service option.

The Seattle Thunderbirds junior hockey team, the anchor tenant of the arena, will email notices to fans about the new security measures prior to the regular season starting in September.

Guests are encouraged by ShoWare officials to arrive early to allow extra time to enter the facility. Everyone is encouraged to help keep arena events safe by reporting suspicious activity to the nearest security guard, staff member or local authority. If there is an emergency, call 911.

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