D-11 stepping up security at three elementary schools
Three elementary schools in District 11 will soon be more secure thanks to a nearly $650,000 state grant.
D-11 was awarded $647,014 through the School Security Disbursement program, a state grant that was given to 95 schools and districts around Colorado.
“When I found out we had won some money, my heart just started to race,” said Hannah DeFord, the project manager for D-11’s facilities department. “I was so excited because we wouldn’t be able to do any of these projects without this grant.”
DeFord said the district plans to use the money to add security vestibules at Grant, Howbert and Monroe elementary schools. Visitors already have to be buzzed in through the front doors, but the vestibules will be a second set of doors that visitors have to check in at before they can get in the schools.
“So the elementary schools that we specifically applied for, once you’re buzzed in the main entrance, there can be quite a route to get to the office in order to check in,” DeFord said. “Some of them you actually have to go down the hallway and around the corner and down another hallway, which isn’t necessarily safe because once they’re in, the office personnel do not have the visual connection to the front door to see if these people are actually coming in to check into the building.”
DeFord said a majority of the schools were built in the 1950s and 60s when times were different.
“Security and visitor security during that time was not even a consideration, much less a priority,” she said. “Now, with changing times, that is one of our top priorities is actually keeping the children safe. And it’s difficult to retrofit buildings to have security vestibules and have other security measures when that was not in the original design intent of the building.”
The district had hoped to add new security features at more than a dozen schools, DeFord said, but was only awarded money for the three elementary schools.
“There were 13 projects that we had asked for, and it was $2.7 million worth of funding that we had requested,” she said. “Even though we didn’t get everything we asked for, even just a little bit of help is very wonderful.”
According to DeFord, D-11 would not have been able to do any of the security updates without the grant money.
“Our priorities are safety and security for the buildings, but adding security vestibules to these sites is above and beyond what we're able to do. So this is definitely a blessing for the district,” she said. “The intention is to address all of our high priority schools, but it’s going to have to be one at a time as the funding becomes available.”
DeFord said she did not know if or when funding would be available.
The district said it hopes to start construction next summer and have the security features ready to go by the time school starts in the fall of 2020.
were a few of the local schools and districts that also won funding for security projects.