Arts Commission Approves Plan to Raise White House Fence

Approval follows a series of high-profile security breaches

What to Know

  • A Washington arts commission gave preliminary approval to raise the fence outside the White House from 6 feet to 11 feet 7 inches.
  • The plan follows two high-profile fence breaches within 24 hours of each other in April.

A plan to raise the overall height of the fence surrounding the White House by approximately 6 feet, about doubling its current height, has received preliminary approval from a Washington arts commission.

The move follows recent high-profile security breaches at the executive mansion. The White House went into lockdown April 26 after a man jumped the fence while fleeing from a robbery, the Secret Service said.

Just a day later, the White House went into lockdown again when a man threw personal belongings over the fence, a Secret Service spokesman said.

The Secret Service briefed leaders in Congress about possible changes to the fence in mid-April. The News4 I-team learned of plans to raise the fence the same day as the second security breach. 

The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts gave its approval to the new design Thursday. The fence design still must be reviewed by the National Capital Planning Commission. Both commissions must also ultimately approve the final design.

The new design increases the height of the metal fence from 6 feet to 11 feet 7 inches. The fence will be even taller still because it currently sits on a stone base that is 1 to 2 feet. The new base would be no less than 1 foot.


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The plans also included features to hinder climbing for potential fence jumpers. This would compliment small spikes that were added to the fence in response to jumpers in 2015.

The Secret Service said it plans to begin construction of the fence by 2018. The National Park Service also helped design the new fence.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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