SAUK RAPIDS -- Between district and state funds, Sauk Rapids-Rice is about to start on making significant security upgrades at schools and sites across the district.

The school board recently approved spending $3.3-million on security upgrades throughout the district. One school looking at receiving upgrades -- with state, not district money -- Pleasantview Elementary serves as a perfect example of what the district is looking to do.

The state recently awarded Sauk Rapids-Rice grant money for construction of a secure entrance at Pleasantview.

Superintendent Aaron Sinclair says the district has been working on a safety and security upgrade using money they have already, for a few months now.

"Each building was looked at and what we did was create a set of security standards and what we wanted each building to look like when it came to security. So we did a deep-dive on each building, and applied those standards."

Sinclair says Pleasantview should be one of the first to get a secure entry, and each school should follow roughly the same design.

"An open vestibule would funnel you toward a transaction window. Where if you were dropping off a school lunch or a check, you'd just complete your transaction. If there was an actual reason for you to be in the building, you'd be buzzed in at that point."

The state security grants were built in as part of the bonding bill this year. The state legislature earmarked $25-million for use by districts across Minnesota. The money was divided into $12.5-million for schools in the Twin Cities Metro and $12.5-million for schools in greater Minnesota.

Pleasantview's grant award was for $392,370, so the state is covering the cost for that school. Sinclair says everything is still early so they don't have an exact timeline on construction yet. However, they'd like to start early next year if possible.

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