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CASA GRANDE — When schools were built decades ago, safety and security meant keeping kids inside the yard.

Today, officials grapple with what to do should the most dreaded event take place.

Because of that, Casa Grande Elementary School District Governing Board members heard an update Tuesday on plans for upgrading safety and security measures at schools. Mark Davenport of SPS+ Architects told the board the company took an inventory of district schools and administrative buildings to assess security and presented the board with a comprehensive plan to upgrade security at all sites.

Davenport said site principals were consulted as well as officials from the Casa Grande Police and Fire departments to get a cross section of ideas on ways to improve security.

Almost all of the buildings owned by the school district will be remodeled or retrofitted in order to make them more secure. CGESD Chief Financial Officer Tom Wohlleber said the district will make the improvements based on a tiered system, with the most pressing needs addressed first. Finances also will be a consideration, he noted.

Voters approved a $43 million bond issue in 2016, and a portion of that money is dedicated toward safety and security. The district opened a combined replacement for Casa Grande Middle School and Saguaro Elementary School in August.

In addition to physical improvements, sites will implement other measures to improve student safety, such as creating a new visitor-management system to ensure student safety.

In action items, the board approved new supplemental materials for several grade levels. The materials will work to help tailor the curriculum for both the highest achievers as well as the students who are struggling.

Prior to the meeting, Superintendent JoEtta Gonzales administered the oath of office to Gilberto Mendez. He will serve the rest Barbara Davis’ term and will start a four-year term in January. Davis did not seek re-election and Mendez filed for the seat. Davis resigned recently.

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