fire alarm

Seven schools in Del Norte County that have aging fire alarms are getting new, upgraded systems, funded in part by the State of California.

Last year, Sen. Mike McGuire met with a team from the Del Norte Unified School District, led by Superintendent Jeff Harris, plus officials of the State Office of Public School Construction, to discuss state funding for critical upgrades at local schools.

“Our top priority is always the safety of our amazing students and staff,” said Harris. “We asked Senator McGuire to help us secure this funding last year. He followed through on that commitment and we are incredibly thankful for his support.”

The district’s administrators received approval for 60% of the funding for fire alarm replacement projects at several local schools. Since those original meetings, more than $1 million in state funds will be invested with local schools for fire alarm upgrades, Harris said.

“We have made it a priority to deliver for Del Norte County, especially for our kids and public schools,” McGuire said. “These funds couldn’t come soon enough. The fire alarm replacement dollars will help keep students safe by advancing desperately needed upgrades to several antiquated alarm systems.”

The first replacement was completed last summer at Crescent Elk Elementary School. The district received $304,159 from the state, 60% of the project’s costs. The Del Norte School District’s share was $202,773.

The next two fire alarm systems were replaced in August: Smith River and Joe Hamilton Elementary schools.

The total project cost for Joe Hamilton was $360,113, of which the state contributed $216,068. Total project cost for Smith River was $354,836, with the state is covering $212,901.

Pine Grove Elementary and Redwood Elementary schools will have their fire alarm systems replaced in the summer of 2020. Margaret Keating Elementary School and Sunset High School will receive upgraded alarm systems in the summer of 2021.

The total cost of all seven projects exceeds $1.8 million, with the state funding $1.08 million of the upgrades.

Harris said the Del Norte Unified School District is paying its 40% share of the new alarm systems with local bond dollars, Fund 21. Local Bond Measure A passed on Nov. 4, 2008.

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