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MCPS trustees see safety as key feature of Missoula school upgrades

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Meadow Hill Middle School in Missoula (MTN News photo) Meadow Hill Middle School in Missoula (MTN News photo)

MISSOULA - Missoula County Public Schools trustees say the district's multi-million dollar construction projects are not only about upgrading the school's for the coming decades but are also adding key features for school safety.

MCPS  leaders are making note of the fact that the construction isn't just for convenience and efficiency as the district progresses into the final projects for the "Smart Schools 2020" program

 With school safety back in the news this month, they're also pointing out how the safety of students and staff were originally a part of the "2020" projects when they were planned a few years ago. 

In locations, such as Missoula's busy middle schools, office areas and entryways are being reconfigured to create more space, with more visibility for people coming and going, and the ability to control that traffic.

A perfect example is at Washington Middle School, where the office and administration is being moved to an entirely different location. And at Meadow Hill Middle School, where remote, detached mobile units will be replaced, showing safety is a high priority…

"It is. It's critical anyone that comes into any of our schools enters a vestibule, and then someone acknowledges them and buzzes them into the building. And each redesign has that feature in it," Missoula County Public Schools trustee Daniel Lorenzen said.

"At each of the three middle schools we're removing the annex facilities and all of the spaces will be contiguous. The kids won't leave the building during the day," Lorenzen added.

MCPS Superintendent Mark Thane and other administrators will present an update on the $158 million "Smart Schools 2020" projects for City Club Missoula next week. Reservations for the luncheon next Monday are being taken now. 

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