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BOE seeks $175,000 to replace fire, phone, intercom systems

In an effort to keep the Board of Education prepared for some important needs Washington County Schools have, the director of schools provided an update on where they stand with fire alarms, phone systems and intercom systems for the schools at a called meeting last month.
“If these things go down, we will have to take steps to replace them immediately, which would be far more desirable beforehand on a planned basis, instead of an emergency basis because you are going with some time period without the system that is affected,” Director of Technology of School Systems Curtis Fullbright said.
Although the fire alarms at Gray Elementary school were replaced in December 2010, the fire alarms at Midway Center were installed in the 1970s and the master panels were discontinued leaving no parts available.
Fullbright said because the master panels control each alarm system, the issue needs to be addressed.
He said Boones Creek Elementary, Jonesborough Elementary and South Central Elementary have a limited supply of parts or no parts for the master panels. He said the parts can be found, but would be done with some effort.
According to Fullbright, the cost to replace these systems is approximately $70,000.
As far as phone systems, Jonesborough Elementary had its system replaced in September 2013. Lamar School, South Central Elementary, Asbury Optional High and Midway Center have mid-1990s systems that no longer have replacement parts available. Replacing all four systems would cost approximately $20,000.
Fullbright said that Lamar School and South Central Elementary have handsets in each classroom, and Midway Center and Asbury Optional High do not have phones in the classroom due to the proximity to the office. “If we do replace these, we would put phones in these classrooms,” he said.
The intercom systems are also outdated at some schools. “If they were to go down, we would have to address them immediately,” Fullbright warned.
Gray Elementary’s system was installed in 1983. Jonesborough Middle and Sulphur Springs are having intermittent problems with the potential of the systems breaking down at any moment.
“Jonesborough Middle School and Sulphur Springs have had problems that we were able to address,” Fullbright said. “They certainly are over 17 years old. If they were to go down, we would have to address them immediately.”
The intercom systems are important, Fullbright said, because they want to be able to communicate with staff and students. It is estimated to cost between $80,000 and $90,000 to replace the intercom systems.
Fall Branch and West View elementary schools recently had their systems replaced in 2009 and 2014.
Fullbright said it’s not a matter of time regarding when to fix the three systems, but availability of replacement parts.
“It would take some time to find replacement parts if they can be found at all,” he said, adding it will cost an estimated $175,000 to replace the intercom systems, phone systems and fire alarms.
BOE member Todd Ganger made a motion during the May 20 meeting that Director of Schools Ron Dykes ask for immediate funding from the county commissioner for the systems, which was approved.
“These things should be fixed this summer,” Ganger said.