With school security at the forefront of many families’ concerns in Texas, Denton ISD has several million-dollar projects in the works.

Denton ISD is expected to spend more than $10 million on security and other improvements at four campuses after voters approved a pair of bond propositions last May.

The construction projects involve “minor rework” of entry vestibules and renovating or replacing HVAC units at Alexander, Blanton, and Nelson elementary schools and Strickland Middle School. Each project has an anticipated delivery date of August 1.

The improvements are part of Proposition A — a $1.2 billion bond package designed to address growth, safety, and student opportunities.

“In terms of safety and security, the Citizens’ Advisory Committee recommended 33 security vestibule reconfigurations and smart sensors (non-video) that detect loud noises and harmful vapors in all student restrooms at secondary campuses,” according to the district’s website. “Every campus in Denton ISD will also receive upgraded and or expansions to their security camera systems.”

Since the mass shooting at Uvalde in 2022, Texas lawmakers have passed new campus security requirements for state-funded institutions, such as the recent law requiring each campus to appoint an armed peace officer, as covered by The Dallas Express. Changes have also been made at the district level, with officials developing their own policies to keep weapons out of schools. These have included low-tech initiatives, such as the clear backpack policy seen at Dallas ISD, and more cutting-edge ones, such as the artificial intelligence scanners placed at the entrances of high schools in Mansfield ISD.

In addition to security upgrades, Denton ISD’s Proposition A includes:

  • Cafeteria upgrades at 15 campuses.
  • HVAC upgrades at 24 other campuses or facilities.
  • Keyless entry upgrades at 17 campuses or facilities.
  • The installation of automatic door-locking systems at 39 campuses or facilities.
  • Roof replacements at 14 campuses.
  • The installation of practice-field turf and all-weather tracks at eight middle schools.
  • Interior “refresh” at 12 campuses or facilities.
  • Video-access systems at major entrances and exist at all campuses.
  • Career and technology additions at LaGrone Academy.
  • Ag improvements at Guyer High School.
  • Middle school renovations.
  • High school athletic renovations.
  • The construction of high school multipurpose indoor facilities.
  • Elementary fine arts classroom refurbishments.
  • Elementary campus renovations.
  • Expansion and reconfiguration of the band hall at Ryan High School.
  • Sisk annex capital improvements.
  • Transportation improvements.
  • Land acquisition for campus sites.

Proposition B provides $112 million for interactive digital touchscreen panels and laptop upgrades at every campus.

The $1.4 million bond election was approved with 62% of the vote, marking the largest capital-improvement plan in the district’s history, the district’s website shows.

With a population of nearly 1 million, Denton County is one of the fastest growing in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The student population at Denton ISD is about 32,000, with that number projected to increase by 4,000 over the next five years.

Denton ISD clocked an on-time graduation rate of 97.6% during the 2021-2022 school year. For comparison, only 81.1% of Dallas ISD’s Class of 2022 earned a degree in four years despite the hard work of its educators.