School Emergency Lockdown - Channing SchoolIP Connected PA and School Emergency Lockdown
Emergency Lockdown System at Channing School Highgate London
Client: Channing School
Channing School, an independent girls’ school in Highgate, North London has recently completed work on a brand new performing arts building.
As the final phase in its Capital Challenge Development Project (a programme which has seen the addition of several new and refurbished buildings at the school) the opening of the 300 seat arts building, also coincides with the final commissioning of a state-of-the-art lockdown security system installed at the school.
Designed to ensure the safety of pupils and staff at all times, the new system was installed by Midland Comms featuring a 2N Audio-over-IP networked Public Address System at its core.
When the school decided to improve its security arrangements, the school bursar, Roy Hill, called Midland Communications of Tewkesbury for advice. Martyn Phillips of Midland visited the site to carry out a site survey and offer some recommendations based on the school’s requirements. Martyn’s advice was to install a school lockdown system backed up with a solid programme of staff training in security procedures that could come into play should the school have to ‘go into lockdown’, so to speak. The primary challenge to designing and installing a school-wide system was the architectural make up and layout of the school estate. The main school building was originally a terrace of four Georgian town houses, and while the exterior fascia has been preserved complete with original details, the interior has seen the four houses ‘knocked into one’. There were also a number of other school buildings, including the new arts building, that also needed to be incorporated into the system.
Roy Hill explains:
“It was very important to us to have a fully school-wide lockdown system that was scalable and could be added to or upgraded easily. We also wanted ease of use built-in, as well as feature-rich operation that could be customised to suit our unique requirements. Not only that, when carrying out refurbishment work and the such-like, we have to work around the school calendar so any system needed to be installed with the minimum of fuss and up and running in time ready for the start of term.”
Midland ruled out a complete newly hard-wired solution as it would be too difficult run new cables to integrate the various buildings into a school-wide system. To achieve the client requirements in a practical way, the company developed a proposal around a IP networked Public Address system. This solution uses the existing school LAN where possible and newly installed Cat 5 cabling and where necessary. The installation features a communications ‘hub’ in the main reception area from where it is possible to communicate with any of the seven school ‘zones’ either separately or collectively via pre-recorded messages or live broadcasts.
The system consists of over fifty audio over IP speakers installed throughout the school estate. The speakers are robustly manufactured to meet the performance standards required for a busy public space. The speakers also feature an embedded IP card which processes the audio signal received from the network and broadcasts clear audio into each individual zone. The system is also powered by a series of amplifiers in strategic locations.
As Martyn Phillips comments, the audio over IP system has proved to be the ideal solution for the project:
“We’re delighted with how the installation panned out. We worked together with our distributor partner on the system design front which also meant that when we came to installation, everything went smoothly. The last zone we added was the new arts building and that was a seamless process due to the easy scalability of the IP solution. Furthermore, should the school decide to make any additional changes or small tweaks to the system, it will be no problem to incorporate them in the future without going to the expense of a new system
From my point of view,” says Roy Hill “ensuring the security of almost 700 pupils while on Channing premises is a huge responsibility. I’m delighted that we now have a lockdown system in place that allows me to discharge that obligation efficiently and safely.”
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