Campus-wide mass communications bell-paging system.
CLIENT CASE STUDY
St. John Neumann Catholic School
ABOUT ST. JOHN NEUMANN CATHOLIC SCHOOL
St. John Neumann Catholic School, a member of the Archdiocese of Miami, is a fully accredited parish school. Established in 1981 in the greater Miami area, SJNCS serves 350+ students from PK-3 through 8th grade. The school’s full-time administrative, teacher and professional staff is approximately 50.
Operating a grade school these days takes much more than meets the average eye. Even before the learning begins, a huge amount of planning and execution goes into efficiently and safely operating the campus from classrooms and offices to ballfields and common areas.
Mass communications bell-paging systems are relied upon for:
- Communications between the main office and classrooms.
- Announcements moving students to and from classrooms, activities, meals, recess, dismissals, etc.
- Execution of emergency drills or actual emergency alerts for fire, intruder, tornado, lockdown, all clear messages and more.
For years, SJNCS managed the school day with a manually operated public address system. The office would turn “on” the PA, ring bells by hand and live voice all announcements. The staff ably managed the process even as the aging Bogen PA system with IP clocks began to fail, and the Archdiocese of Miami increased its safety requirements for monthly emergency drills.
As the end of the school year approached, SJNCS Principal Maria Elena Vilas and IT Director Sylvia Fraginals knew it was time for a new mass communications bell-paging system. Time was of the essence for vendor proposals and selection, with added pressure that the new system would need to be installed, tested and made fully operational while students were on summer recess.
Sylvia Fraginals reached out to her technical contacts and received proposals from three providers, including one from Greyson Technologies on referral from Cardinal Gibbons Catholic School, also part of the Archdiocese of Miami.
Requirements for the new mass communications bell-paging system were straight forward. SJNCS “wanted an automated system with accurate clocks that could be preprogrammed with announcements by zone, and two-way intercoms for office-classroom communications,” says Mrs. Fraginals. The school also needed the system to meet mandated safety requirements for multiple monthly emergency drills.
Greyson worked closely with Mrs. Fraginals and the school principal to detail all aspects of the mass communications system. “The team physically walked the campus to determine the exact location of all components,” according to Richard Hillman, team lead for Greyson Technologies. “We wanted to be sure we covered the entire campus and that every component was properly placed and easily accessible,” added Hillman.
Greyson proposed a mass communications system based on Valcom’s browser-based IP6000 platform. Mrs. Fraginals recalls, “The other vendor’s were similarly priced, but proposed re-using existing components that were still working from the Bogen system and still didn’t have the features in Greyson’s proposed Valcom system.” After reviewing the proposals, SJNCS was confident in their selection to move forward with Greyson.
Greyson’s mass communications solution included:
- Valcom® IP6000 communications server
- Valcom® VE6024 elaunch server
- Valcom® VE4301A-D IP speaker/clocks
- Valcom® VE1301AL-GY outside horns
- Cisco® Gigabit PoE Switches
- Greyson Professional Services
- National Communications Services, Inc. for installation of structured cabling and IP end points
The on-campus installation took place June 26 through August 15. Greyson’s local professional services team managed all aspects of the installation during this time, including configuration of the mass communications system for:
- Bell schedule individualized by zone
- Automated announcements by zone
- Two-way office-classroom communications
- 3-digit dialing intercom phone for live, automated and emergency announcements
- Interface controls for central console
“Greyson came in on day one. We pointed them to the resources they needed. They required virtually no direction, worked quietly and very neatly for weeks. Everything was handled by Richard Hillman with a ‘we’ll take care of it’ approach. I’m 100% satisfied.”
Sylvia Fraginals, IT Director, SJNCS
SJNCS now has a reliable mass communication bell-paging solution that keeps their students and staff safe, informed and on schedule.
The daily school schedule and announcements are preprogrammed into the system. No more ringing bells by hand and live voicing standard announcements. The Valcom system handles everything, including prescheduled emergency drills. Override schedules for holidays and other events are easily set up by the internal staff using the Valcom browser-based control panel.
“We really like the new features,” concludes Mrs. Fraginals, “especially being able to preprogram the system by day, zone, holiday, drills … then just update the exceptions as needed.”
There never was any sense of panic throughout the implementation and testing process. Greyson’s approach was low key with a “can do” attitude. IT Director Fraginals and SJNCS never had to worry that all the bells and whistles needed would be there on time, on budget, as promised.
Sylvia Fraginals, IT Director, SJNCS