BY KARISSA MILLER
The Iredell-Statesville Schools Board of Education approved a $1.6 million purchase agreement with Two Way Radio System of Carolinas for Motorola radios for all district schools and 270 buses, plus other communication upgrades, during Monday’s meeting.
The two-way radios and communication repeaters will help school officials and first responders communicate with school administrators, custodians, bus drivers and everyone on their campuses without interference.
“This purchase ensures another level of safety that is greatly needed,” Board Chairman Todd Carver said. “It’s a huge safety factor for doing lockdown drills and making sure outside emergency communications can communicate effectively — if you can’t get information to somebody it can literally be the difference between life and death.”
According to I-SS Chief Technology and Facilities Officer Tim Ivey, all schools will be on one radio system as a result of this purchase.
There will also be connection to “Motorola Wave on Cloud,” he said, which allows emergency management personnel to connect to the network in the event of an emergency as well as allowing designated I-SS personnel to connect to the radio system at any time using a cell phone.
During the Committee of the Whole meeting last week, Ivey explained that staff cell phones are not always dependable for communication purposes because of dead spots in and around schools. For example, the staff at West Iredell High School doesn’t have consistent reception in different buildings on campus.
“We have been very satisfied with this radio. I can start picking up my school down at the cemetery and that’s without a repeater. It has a lot of good features and I would highly recommend it,” said CATS Principal Larry Rogers.
According to Ivey, I-SS received the COPS SVPP (School Violence Prevention Program) grant this year totaling $462,475 with $212,815 of the grant funds being allocated for upgrading radios and increasing connectivity during emergency situations.
The district will use those grants funds to make the initial payment for a five-year service agreement with Two Way Radio of Carolina, Inc.