Two elementary schools undergoing renovations to improve safety

Students at two area schools will be a little safer when they return to class in the fall. Security improvements are underway at two elementary schools in Holmen.

The district hired consultants years ago to tell them what upgrades to make. A new door system was one of the recommendations. School officials say the new system will make schools safer, on top of its other security measures.

As soon as school was out for the summer in June, crews began building a two-stage entry system at Evergreen and Sand Lake Elementary schools.

“Before if we let someone into the building, they could go into the hallway and go any which way they wanted to,” said John Daily, Buildings & Grounds Supervisor for the School District of Holmen.

With the new doorway and adjacent main office, you won’t have that same access right away.

“Now they’re forced to go through the office, meet somebody and sign in and make sure they’re legitimately visiting our school,” Daily said.

The system has already been implemented at the middle school, high school and Prairie View Elementary. But Evergreen and Sand Lake are the latest to undergo renovations because of the 2017 Safety and Security Referendum.

“[We’ve added] more video surveillance added door contacts, some other initiatives include some new fencing,” Daily said.

“We do have a buzzer system. We’re able now to directly get in touch with dispatch if needed in any kind of an emergency,” said Kris Mueller, district administrator for the School District of Holmen.

In all, voters approved about $2.8 million worth of improvements. Officials were also awarded a school safety grant from the state.

“Part of those dollars we were able to use toward our two state entries, which we were very excited about,” Mueller said.

Through the many initiatives, the School District’s Administrator hopes kids will feel safer when they come to school.

“Any measure that we can take to ensure that safety we want to do,” Mueller said.

The projects at Evergreen and Sand Lake Elementary are expected to be done by the time students arrive for the first day of school.

Viking Elementary still needs some upgrades, like the doors, as well. Mueller said plans are in the works to have it done before the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

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