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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The Colfax school district has been awarded grants totaling $91,367 in Safe Schools grants from the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
William C. Yingst Jr., district administrator, reported on the grant awards at the Colfax Board of Education’s October 29 meeting.
Following the massacre of 17 people in a school shooting at a Florida high school on Valentine’s Day, the state Legislature set aside $100 million of general purpose revenue in March to be administered as grants available through the new Office of School Safety in the Department of Justice to help schools improve their security systems.
The Colfax school district received $45,322 in the first round of grant awards and $46,045 in the second round of grant awards.
The first round of grant money went toward 3M window film, Yingst said.
When the security film is applied to glass windows, the windows become virtually unbreakable.
The first round of grant money also was used to improve the “strikes and fobs” system for the exterior doors of the school buildings and to install a panic button system, Yingst said.
Members of the fire department, emergency medical services and law enforcement all have access to many parts of the building, he noted.
The second round of grant funding is going toward improving the lock system on all of the doors inside the school buildings, Yingst said.
Improving safety and security is a long-term on-going project, he said.
Safety improvements also were part of the $7.2 million referendum approved by voters in the Colfax school district in November of 2016.
Referendum projects included moving the high school office from the interior of the building to the east side of the building by the parking lot, replacing the lobby doors with windows, and installing a set of entry doors that remain locked during the school day so that visitors can only gain entry to the school building through the high school office.
A similar set of doors was installed at Colfax Elementary so that all visitors must go through the elementary school office to gain entry to the building.
Another safety improvement included installing hallway doors in strategic locations throughout the building that can be closed and locked from a central location to keep an intruder isolated in one particular area, allowing students and teachers to shelter in place or to escape to another part of the building.