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Park Rapids Schools implementing new security system

Call boxes and security cameras were installed in the vestibules at Park Rapids Area Schools as part of a security system upgrade. (Kevin Cederstrom/Enterprise)

Park Rapids Area Schools is implementing an enhanced security system at its three facilities operating in the district for the start of the 2017-18 school year.

Visitors to Park Rapids Area High School, Century School and the Frank White Education Center will find the main entrance doors secured during regular school hours.

The school district installed new hardware and locking mechanisms to existing doors inside the vestibules at Century and the high school main entrances. The exterior doors will remain unlocked and the interior doors will be locked during the school day.

Superintendent Lance Bagstad and Buildings and Grounds Director Alan Vanderstad updated the school board on the project Monday.

In order to enter the schools, visitors will need to push the call box button located at the front entrance in the Century and high school vestibules.

Supt. Bagstad said this is a new system and with anything new like this there will need to be some getting used to by both staff and visitors. The change in procedure to enter the buildings during school hours provides an added measure of safety for everyone in the facilities.

The call box button is connected to the main office of each building. The Frank White building does not have a vestibule and the call box is located on the exterior next to the main entrance. When the call boxes are activated, office personnel will greet the visitors. Once inside the building, visitors are asked to report to the office to sign in.

"We don't want people to have to wait too long but we also don't want people in our buildings that shouldn't be there," Bagstad said. "We're asking our visitors and parents for their patience. We want to thank people in advance in supporting the safety of our students. Our students' safety is priority."

The district's Building Safety Committee worked with Park Rapids Police Chief Jeff Appel and Brian Halbasch, Hubbard County Deputy Sheriff and Emergency Manager, in addressing security needs and concerns. The cost of the facility security project is about $60,000 and paid for through the district's safe schools funding which utilizes money for security related projects. The district will send out letters and use social media to explain the project to families.

Military Appreciation Night

Included in Activity Director John Schumacher's report to the board was the upcoming Military Appreciation Night. The Park Rapids football team will honor all current and retired military personnel at the first home game of the season Friday, Sept. 1.

The Panthers take on UNC at Vern Weekly Field, kickoff is 7 p.m. All military personnel (current or retired) will be admitted free of charge with valid military or veteran I.D. for the game. Veterans are asked to enter through the south gate. Veterans will walk from the goalline to the 25 yard line.

The American Legion Post #212 will present the Colors for each home game this season.

Enrollment projections

Century Elementary Principal Joleen DeLaHunt reports projected first day enrollment for grades K-4 is 607 with individual class sizes ranging from 20 to 23. Third grade looks to be the largest projected at 134 students with 2nd grade the smallest at 108.

DeLaHunt said staffing is complete, the schedules are ready, hallways are clean and "the place looks great", with people coming in to check out the school.

Middle School Principal Shawn Andress reports projected enrollment for grades 5-8 is 520 with 7th grade the largest at 143 students and 8th grade the smallest with 109 students projected. Andress said she is excited to be back into the school after being out this summer due to health issues. She thanked the board and school staff for their support this summer. She reported to the board the middle school has 10 non-tenured staff this year and the school is looking at ways to build their teams and provide staff support.

High School Principal Jeff Johnson reported the high school is ready to go with scheduling and students. Ninth grade orientation is Wednesday, Aug. 30 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

Century Elementary and Middle School Open House is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 30 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. First day of school is Tuesday, Sept. 5.

Board business

The school board approved the following items:

• New hires Christina Avila, Bob Gack, Jim Klamm, bus drivers

• New hire Jim Klamm, .5 FTE MS ADSIS Paraprofessional

• New hire Ashley Hensel, High School Special Ed. Paraprofessional

• New hire Kathy Symanietz, ECSE Paraprofessional

• New hire Jackie Campbell, ECSE Paraprofessional (2 days/week)

• New hire Nicole Gack, Elementary Special Education Paraprofessional

• Increase/Posting, Community Ed. Preschool Para position from 26 to 32 hours per week (2 positions)

• Posting new position, Community Ed. Preschool Para 32 hours per week

• Ronda DeWulf increase from .3 FTE. to .5 FTE, Title I Teacher

• New hire Clare Knudson, .5 FTE ES ADSIS Paraprofessional

• New hire JT Clark, Food Service Supervisor

• Resignation of Colleen Hoscheid, Community Ed. Paraprofessional

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