Durand-Arkansaw School District takes steps towards increasing school safety

DURAND, Wis. (WEAU) -- An area school district is already working towards safety upgrades after being awarded Wisconsin grant funds in June.

The Durand-Arkansaw School District said it's been awarded more than $42,000 in School Safety Grant funds.

While Durand hasn't actually received the funds from the Department of Justice's program yet that hasn't prevented the district from getting started on the upgrades.

Superintendent Greg Doverspike says they're already working towards shatterproof windows and other updates while waiting to receive the money to make sure the district is as safe as possible.

“It's a fine balance you have to walk between building a fortress that nobody can get in to and having a welcoming and educational environment and I think we're really trying to find a way to navigate that balance,” explained Doverspike.

He said the grant will help provide that balance by adding additional cameras to provide better visual coverage, purchasing radios for staff to better communicate, and by inserting shatterproof film on the school's windows.

“The window film was by far the largest expenditure we had. The cameras were around $17,000 between the two buildings and the radios were $3-4,000 so the rest of it was the window film,” he added.

The district said the new window treatments should make it significantly harder for an intruder to break-in, saying it could take up to two minutes which would give school staff more time to respond

The district said it's still working with a Milwaukee based firm on when it will insert the film on the exterior doors and interior classroom windows but Doverspike says all components of the grant will only improve the safety of the school for students

“I think this along with the mental health components that are part of this grant and hopefully some increases in mental health aspects will I think go a long ways in helping the situation,” Doverspike said.

The district says it received the radios earlier this week and plans to have the shatterproof window film installed by the first day of school.

Doverspike says for now the district may use its own funds but it will be reimbursed with the grant funds at a later date.

The district is among eleven others in our area to receive grant funds.

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