New School Year: New School Improvements



As parents and students return to school on Tuesday, some may have noticed a few changes. Summer work gave many schools a bit of a facelift, as well as equipping schools with new measures, to make them safer places to learn and play. The changes funded by the Bond Measures, passed in November, 2020, are in line with the Bond Mission statement, from Durango School District 9-R. Durango united to invest in our future by supporting Bond Issue 4A, aligning our schools with the community’s vision, for innovative, equitable, sustainable, educational outcomes while also ensuring health and safety of students, staff, and other users of these vital community resources. You’re watching the Local News Network, brought to you by 2180 Lighting and Design Studio, and Serious Texas Bar-B-Q, I’m Wendy Graham Settle.

I view myself, and our teachers view themselves, as the stewards of their children’s education and safety. So, what we’re going to do is make sure that when they entrust them to us, we can promise, that they are going to be as safe as possible.

Some of the new safety features include doors that will sound an alert, if the door has been left open for longer than a set time. A couple of the schools including Needham Elementary School, Animas Valley Elementary School, Escalante Middle School, and Durango High School received a new vestibule, to assist in visitor flow and management. The new vestibules are designed to ensure everyone who comes in and out of the building, have checked in, and to help ease the process of parents dropping off a lunch or a forgotten piece of homework.

We have to walk up to a door. We’ll be able to see you, buzz you in. They’ll be able to come to the front here. And if it’s something of a larger item we can get it over here to our front office, to be able to get, maybe a lunch, or like a skateboard, something obscure like that. If it’s just dropping off a piece of paper, it can be exchanged right here in that way. They don’t have to navigate through a building to try and find it. It can just be dropped off.

In addition to the new vestibules, both Needham Elementary School, and Escalante Middle School, had parking lot projects completed. Needham Elementary School’s parking lot was redone to better accommodate student drop and pick up, as well as create a true fire lane for emergency vehicles. Prior to the project, the parking lot, as well as the surrounding neighborhood, would see increased traffic during dropoff and pickup times. The new parking lot design aims to reduce the number of students and parents crossing the street. Several schools also received facelifts, in the way of fresh paint and flooring. Needham and Park Elementary Schools are equipped with new entrance carpeting to trap dirt, mud, and other things tracked into the schools. Improve air quality, and reduce the need for door mats.

All throughout the school, new carpet, these new ones, walk off mats, so those actually are wicking and moisture grabbing. So, we don’t have the trip hazards, of the rugs anymore, which is really nice.

Schools also received updates, to the heating and ventilation systems, new roofing, and other small facelift details. Park Elementary will have a new vestibule installed next summer as part of the Bond Project. Though, several exterior projects on the school were completed this summer. The next major projects that are funded by the bond will be the new Miller Middle School building. Groundbreaking is planned for December or January, and the career impact center at Durango High School. Groundbreaking is planned for mid-September. To view more information about the Bond Projects, how the money is being used, and what to look for, visit durangoschools.org, and select bond on the main page. Thank you for watching this edition, of the Local News Network. I’m Wendy Graham Settle.

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