San Ramon Valley Unified School District serves the California communities of Alamo, Danville, Diablo, Blackhawk, and San Ramon as well as a small portion of the cities of Walnut Creek and Pleasanton. It is comprised of 31 schools attended by more than 24,000 students in kindergarten through grade 12.
The district experienced rapid growth and needed to modernize its aging schools. Facing construction cost inflation, the district looked for ways to migrate to a district-wide telephone system and improve its school low-voltage communications and notification system without exceeding its already-strained budgets.
To capture substantial cost savings, San Ramon Valley Unified School District implemented a ‘one-wire’ solution to run its entire infrastructure. This includes using InformaCast notification and paging software for the clock, PA, and automated school bell system in five schools.
Leveraging Singlewire’s Expertise
As San Ramon Valley Unified School District grew, the need to modernize its again school buildings became critical. At the top of the list was finding a simple, cost-effective solution to help improve communications.
“About two years ago, we discovered that Singlewire was really ready to start putting out addressable speakers that would allow us to effectively build school-wide bell, clock, and PA systems,” said Jon Threshie, Director of Technology. “This would help us eliminate two or three more cable systems, which was part of our construction savings goals.”
San Ramon Valley started installing the InformaCast system as their bell, clock, and PA system for five schools. It installed the speakers and had the system up and running in three days at all five schools. Singlewire worked with a Cisco engineer at the district to complete the installation and get the project off the ground.
Cost Savings, Easy Administration, and Improved Usability
The district found InformaCast to be cost-effective. Compared to other available solutions, it saved approximately 50 percent on the project, primarily in the areas of conduit and installation. On top of the cost savings, using and maintaining the system is easy. The web interface makes handling district-wide changes extremely fast and efficient.
“I’ll get an email from a school office manager who says that a certain classroom needs the volume of the speaker changed,” said Threshie. “So I’ll open up the InformaCast web interface, and within a couple of minutes, the volume is changed. For a non-technician to be able to go into the tool, address the issue, and solve the problem that quickly; it’s a wonderful thing.”
San Ramon Valley also found that moving speakers around was much easier. While construction projects were in full swing, several schools had set up temporary classrooms that included InformaCast and IP speakers. When the new, permanent classrooms were ready, the district simply unplugged the speaker from the network and plugged it back in at the permanent classroom.
In addition, school administration in San Ramon Valley had total access to communications systems throughout the campus right on their desktops. Moreover, since there were outdoor walkways, the speaker system effectively projected out to the playground and various wings of the school.
There were several types of announcements going out through InformaCast, including general announcements and emergency communications such as campus lockdowns, fire drills, and shelter-in-place. These could be initiated by the principal or administrative staff. A tone can be sent over the speaker system, and a message can also be displayed on the IP phone.
“We were having conference week, and the teachers and parents were here, and someone called 911,” said Carol Loflin. principal at Quail Run Elementary School. “We didn’t know who had called, but the police were here. I was able to do an all-call through InformaCast and find out who called 911 in a matter of seconds.”
Based on the success of the original installation, the district is now ordering five more school’s-worth of InformaCast and IP speakers and zone controller/speaker systems.
“We do not hesitate to recommend this system…we have experienced zero downtime and zero field service calls at the first five schools,” said Threshie.
Visit our Schools & Districts page for more information about how InformaCast can help enhance safety and communication for students and teachers.