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District spends $75K on wireless radio system

August 25, 2010 - If an emergency happens at one of the seven schools in the Oxford School District and a phone is not available, the district has a backup plan in place.

The school board recently voted 5-0 to purchase $75,625 worth of hand-held radios employees can use.

These new hand held radios will replace the old radios the district was previously using. "We just had a hodgepodge of walkie-talkies in the past and some of them worked and some of them didn't," said Tim Throne, the director of technology for the school district.

According to Throne, when the last inspection of their emergency procedures was completed by the local authorities, the biggest concern that arose were the walkie-talkies the district was using.

So they set about the process of purchasing new ones.

After hearing back from a couple of different companies, Throne settled on the Motorola Turbo because it did not rely on the district tying it directly into their communication network.

"We wanted something available to us in the event we lost our district network...we wanted to make sure we still had some type of communication to all of the buildings," Throne said.

The district will receive 65 hand held radios and two base stations, one which will be placed at the village police dispatch center in Oxford.

"If we need them for whatever, we can call directly to them," said Throne.

The other base station would be placed at Leonard Elementary.

In addition to the handheld radios and walkie-talkies, the district will also receive antennas that will be placed at the high school, some repeaters to be placed within schools so the signal can be repeated throughout the building, duplexers and all of the necessary programming for the channels the district would need.

Throne said that could be a one-to-one communication channel, a building wide channel, and the potential for a district wide channel.

The $75,000 also pays for installation, training employees how to use them and the FCC licensing fee.

The use of the handheld radios will not be totally limited to principals. The radios will rotate around the buildings.

"All lot of times it depends on the building and it depends on who is doing what," Throne said.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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