District 51 gets grant to change classroom locks

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. -- The Mesa County Federal Mineral Lease District giving $100,000 to District 51 schools to upgrade the classroom door lock system -- making school more secure.

Right now the way schools in District 51 prepare for fires or a lock down -- they say -- is up to national standards. But the new locks will allow teachers to lockdown classrooms and protect students faster and more efficiently during an emergency.

Can you put a dollar sign on peace of mind?

"We know that if students don't feel safe in their building they are not going to learn and if staff don't feel safe it make it difficult for them to help teach students,” said Tim Leon, District 51’s Director of Security and Safety.

District 51 has, and the Federal Mineral Lease District is granting $100,000 to improve the district's classroom lock system.

"It's really exciting to be able to get the funding to put better locks on our class room doors, so teachers are able to lock down their classrooms and keep their students safe a lot faster," said Crystal Stephenson, Principal of Nisley Elementary.

If an emergency strikes . . .

“Currently with old lock system that we have many of the doors have to be locked from the outside, then we put a magnet in the door jam,” Leon explained.

Pulling that magnet or locking the door from the outside and shutting it, simply takes too long.

With the new locks, “It will allow for students to just simply push the button from inside the classroom; where it’s much, much more secure. That can be done very quickly and safely,” added Leon.

It truly is safety with the push the button.

"The other really nice thing about this grant is that it’s not taking away funding, from the classroom," Leon said.

"I know that through the district, to make sure their students come to school in a safe learning environment and that we do everything we possibly can to keep them safe so that they can return home to their parents."

So, $100,000 dollars well spent.

The district’s director of security and safety said that 650 locks district-wide need to be upgraded in 27 buildings.

The district says they plan to change out the locks this summer, as they are required to be compliant with the code by 2018.

The Federal Mineral Lease District spring grant cycle also awarded money to the City of Fruita, Palisade Fire Department and Clifton Sanitation District.

The next round of grants should be announced in October.

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