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Back to school: Aurora Public Schools get security upgrades thanks to bond

New security vestibules at 25 schools
Posted: 7:54 AM, Aug 06, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-06 09:54:08-04

AURORA, Colo. — When students in Aurora Public Schools (APS) head back to class on Tuesday morning, many of them will notice changes to their school buildings. All summer, crews have been working on various projects paid for through a $300 million bond voters approved in 2016.

“We have capacity projects, we have repair projects, and one of the biggest needs in schools is mechanical repairs,” said Amy Spatz, director of construction management and support for APS.

At Hinkley High School, students will start class amid ongoing construction on a new addition. The addition will bring eight new classrooms, space for STEM and bio-tech labs, and a new enclosed courtyard area. Hinkley, one of the district’s smaller high schools, will now have increased capacity for about 2,000 students.

The district says most of the growth in Aurora is happening east of E-470, so it’s a balancing act to make sure they’re addressing the needs of both newer and older communities.

“We will continue to build new buildings out there for new residents of Aurora, and we balance that by making sure existing schools are kept up,” Spatz said.

Twenty-five schools in APS are also getting new security vestibules. Before entering those schools, visitors will have to be buzzed in through a locked door, then a new layout guides them to the front office to check in. The secure vestibules were only added to elementary and middle schools.

“We are not installing the security vestibules at our high schools because those entrances are constantly monitored by our campus monitors at all schools and they check individual people as they come in,” said APS Public Information Officer Corey Christiansen.

Christiansen said the district has multiple protocols in place at all schools to keep kids safe.

“It’s our top priority in Aurora Public Schools, we spend a lot of time every single day focusing on safety and security,” he said.

In addition to the 2016 bond, Aurora voters approved a $35 million mill levy in 2018 that will pay for 108 new mental health professionals, teacher raises, expanded after school programs, and seat belts on schools buses.