Andover elementary schools add new safety improvements

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Carla Reynolds has been teaching at Prairie Creek Elementary in Andover for ten years now and she says she’s never seen an upgrade to the school quite like this one.

“It’s wonderful. The entrance is great. It’s so safe and has so much more room,” Reynolds said.

Andover is one of 153 school districts in the state that received part of a $5 million in federal grant money to help improve safety.

In Andover, the biggest improvement is the new entrance. Designed to keep intruders from entering the school, keeping both the students and the staff safer.

“I just think it’s a necessary thing that we have to do now, unfortunately. The fact that we have to lock doors and have intruder drills and practice for situations like that really is kind of sad but that’s what these children are growing up in but it’s a necessity,” Reynolds said.

Now when guests come and visit the elementary schools in Andover, when they enter, they’ll have to go into the office and get checked in because the doors into the lobby will be locked.

“Before there was easier access to the building itself, so this really controls the point of entry. Our office will buzz parents in or visitors into the office area,” Andover USD 385 Superintendent, Brett White said.

For schools the real challenge was getting the work done in time.

“They started demo the very next day after the last day of school.” Prairie Creek Elementary principal, Shelly Jonas said.

Other upgrades include new classrooms, bringing safety shelters up to FEMA code and adding additional security cameras.

They plan to add more safety upgrades to the secondary schools within the next two years.

“All students, all buildings will be touched by these projects,” White said.

All schools who applied for the grant money received did receive some. The schools are required to match as much as they were given.

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