TALENT, Ore. -- Two years ago, voters living in the Phoenix-Talent School District passed a school bond with security upgrades to its schools, including Talent Middle School. Many of those features were put in during the summer break. Wednesday, students returned with those upgrades in use.
By the end of the week, the entire back field will be surrounded by a six-foot fence. The gates will be closed during school hours but the public will have access to that field once school is out. They'll also be open on the weekends and during vacations.
The cafeteria has been expanded and is now enclosed. Previously, students had to walk down a covered breezeway outside in order to get to the cafeteria.
"It kept the rain off the kidswhen they were walking back and forth but it was completely open," said Principal Santi.
Now students will be walking completely inside the building at all times.
Guests will now have to make a pit stop to the office before entering the school.
"People just walked in," Santi added. "There was no barrier between them and the rest of the school. Now we have a vestibule they'll have to check-in with our secretary and make sure that they have business here before they can actually enter the school."
A School Resource Officer from the Talent Police Department is also returning for the 2019-2020 school year. An SRO started in April 2019.
All of these upgrades were a major push in the school bond.
"I Think that it is just the direction schools are going nationwide," Santi said. "Given all the school shootings and other dangerous situations that have occured, schools are trying to respond by making their facilities safer for students and staff."
Most of the upgrades were completed during the summer break. Some finishing touches are left.