Grand Forks School District leaders emphasize security improvements as part of upcoming referendum

As part of that additional $18 million, $4.5 million would go toward a mass notification system meant to help response time from emergency responders and internal communications during a crisis.

Secure entrance Grand Forks Schools referendum.png
A rendering of what a secure entrance at a new Valley Middle School could look like. (Screenshot from Grand Forks Public Schools' website)

GRAND FORKS — Grand Forks School District leaders on Tuesday emphasized the proposed rebuild of Valley Middle School — part of an upcoming $79 million referendum — would include security improvements both outside and inside.

If the referendum succeeds, $55 million would go toward rebuilding a new middle school and $18 million would go for external and internal security upgrades to schools. Visitors would enter a secure area and then be granted access to the school itself. Construction of physical secure entrances would be made possible by relocating central offices.

As a part of that additional $18 million, $4.5 million would go toward a mass notification system meant to help response time from emergency responders and improve internal communications during a crisis.

“I just wanted to make sure that the community knew that it was not just the secure entrances. Those are a critical part of it, but there's much more to that price tag,” Catherine Gillach, an assistant superintendent for Grand Forks Public Schools, said during Tuesday evening's School Board meeting.

The other $6 million is for a central kitchen facility to be located at the Mark Sanford Education Center. The estimated annual tax burden per $100,000 of appraised residential property would be $96.93. The election is slated for May 16.


Kyle Kvamme, with ICON Architects, the firm assisting the district with the referendum planning process, gave an update on the referendum process to board members during the meeting. Kvamme’s presentation included updated information on the district’s website about the referendum and plans to distribute information around the community to educate voters.

There are two upcoming community meetings about the referendum: 6 p.m. April 13 at the Red River High School Theater (2211 17th Ave. S) and 6 p.m. May 11 at the Grand Forks Central High School Auditorium (115 N 4th St.).

In other news, Grand Forks School Board leaders:

  • Approved summer school programming for the district.
  • Authorized the district to collect bids for the sale of a white school bus. Brandon Baumbach, business manager for the district, said the bus cannot be used because it does not have a crossing arm and is white.

Sydney Mook has been the news editor at the Post Bulletin since June 2023. In her role she edits and assigns stories and helps reporters develop their work for readers.

Mook was previously with the Grand Forks Herald from May 2018 to June 2023. She served as the Herald's managing editor, as well as the higher education reporter.

For story pitches contact her at or call her at 507-285-7771.
What To Read Next
Get Local