Founded in 1948, Community Unit School District 300 is located in the Fox River Valley in Chicago’s far northwest suburbs, headquartered in Carpentersville, IL. A constant population growth has expanded D300 by adding more than 20 new schools over the last six decades. Currently, District 300 features 27 total schools including a charter school and spans 118 square miles and 15 surrounding communities such as Pingree Grove and Sleepy Hollow. District 300 offers a dual language program for English and Spanish speakers, an award-winning music program as well as a broad selection of Advance Placement classes. More than 75 teachers employed by the district have received the prestigious National Board Certification. Educating nearly 21,000 students from preschoolers to 12th graders, Community Unit School District 300 is the 6th largest school district in the entire state of Illinois.
Always trying to ensure the safety of their students and faculty, Community Unit School District 300 wanted a system to provide mass notification alerts throughout their schools. Pentegra Systems submitted a proposal in response to a RFP issued by Community Unit School District 300 to best address their mass notification requirement. The challenge was to come up with a solution that would extend and modify the existing security systems in Dundee Crown, Jacobs and Hampshire High Schools. District 300 was looking for security improvements for when an emergency arises to notify not only the proper authorities, but also the faculty and students alike creating a form of lockdown situation to ensure the utmost safety at all times.
The solution that Pentegra Systems proposed, designed and successfully installed was an addition to their already operational security systems. Our solution utilized their existing telephone system, emergency call buttons underneath faculty desks as well as their paging system that was already in place. Pentegra integrated Emergency Lock Down Alert Systems into all three District 300 high schools without disrupting the already functional security measures that D300 utilizes. When an emergency situation arises authorities can be instantly notified either by pressing a panic button or dialing a specific code on any of the school’s telephones. This method of notification reduces response times to an absolute minimum. While notifying authorities, this mass notification system also notifies students and faculty of the very same emergency situation through the paging system.
Pentegra Systems installed nearly 100 blue strobe lights throughout Dundee Crown, Jacobs and Hampshire High Schools in all areas where the noise level is high and the PA system is not always heard. When the system is triggered the strobe lights are activated and begin flashing in all hallways and various classrooms throughout the schools. The striking bright blue strobe lights easily notify anyone in the area that there is currently an emergency and to move into their respective classrooms or offices as a safety precaution. In addition to the visual aspect of Pentegra’s solution, there is also an audio element. Pentegra Systems installed Mass Notification Announcers onto the existing Dukane Starcall™ and Valcom intercom systems. When this system is triggered an audible recording is played utilizing the school’s public address intercom systems. This recording, recorded by school officials, notifies everyone of the emergency situation at hand, that authorities are on the way, as well as instructs everyone to make their way into their classrooms and close the doors.
As part of the proposed solution, Pentegra also trained the end user, the security administrator, on how to fully operate the system and utilize it to its full potential. Through this training, D300 will remain in the best of care when protecting students and faculty. In addition to installing all strobe lights throughout the district, Pentegra Systems supplied and installed all cabling necessary to integrate this system linking it to the existing telephone systems, panic buttons and intercom systems of the district’s three high schools.
With safety being the number one priority and concern, the engineers at Pentegra Systems designed a solution that integrated an extremely necessary and beneficial security tool into Community Unit School District 300’s already existing security systems. Protecting students and faculty are critical in times of emergencies within a school and immediately notifying authorities are crucial when emergencies arise. This Mass Notification System ensures the protection and safety of everyone within the building as well as alerts the proper authorities to respond. Through Pentegra Systems’ solution, Dundee Crown, Jacobs and Hampshire High Schools will continue to be protected whenever an emergency may strike.
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