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Class in Session: How Christopher Columbus High School Prioritizes Safety Through Technology Implementation

Located in the western suburbs of Miami, Florida sits the prestigious all-boys, private Catholic school, Christopher Columbus High School (CCHS). Featuring a college preparatory academic curriculum, a powerhouse football, and athletic program, and a distinguished alumni base including Fortune 500 CEOs, the school is continually evolving to attract, recruit, and retain some of Florida’s brightest minds. In fact, employing cutting-edge technology and programs is of paramount importance to the recruiting effort for CCHS.

Founded in 1958, the campus features a unique infrastructural design that guides students, staff, and guests to the school’s indoor gymnasium, auditorium, and collection of classrooms through a series of breezeways. Communicating news, updates, and directions to students, faculty, and visitors is critical during both routine school days and during and emergency situations.

With an expansive campus that stretches across 24 acres and encompasses four major buildings, the task of campus communication is no easy feat. Apart from a large campus, the CCHS takes pride in its STEM initiatives, including an award-winning broadcast studio on-campus to give students hands-on experience in broadcast productions. The school has equally stringent technological standards to meet its own operational needs. To ensure campus-wide alerts reach listeners—both inside and outdoors—CCHS relies on AtlasIED and its IPX Series of IP Endpoints with InformaCast® Mass Notification Software from Singlewire®.

To bring this installation to life, CCHS looked to its long-time solutions and service provider, Mirarmar, Florida-based United Data Technologies (UDT). “UDT has been a partner of Columbus for many years,” noted Joe Montesinos, Senior Account Manager at UDT. “The administrators at Columbus are aware that K-12 is UDT’s core business, so they know that when we come up with a solution to solve a problem, they trust us because of our track record in investigating and developing end-to-end solutions.”

From the opening bell to the moment the last individual leaves school grounds, the IPX Series drives communications between everyone on campus. In addition to the daily bell schedules, meditations, announcements, intercom, and prayers, which can be live or pre-recorded and played directly from an administrator’s phone, AtlasIED’s IPX Series incorporates campus safety measures with the help of Singlewire Informacast integration.

InformaCast by Singlewire is a powerful mass notification software that allows schools and facilities of all sizes to reach people on their mobile and on-campus devices. In an emergency, when every second counts, InformaCast, with IPX, quickly delivers attention-grabbing audio and written messages to the devices of faculty, students and parents, and alerts law enforcement.

“With such a large campus and students as young as 14 years old, you have to be ready to communicate with them immediately,” said Alex Seage, Senior Director of Technology and Innovation, at CCHS. “Having this system in place has really helped us communicate and get the word out to keep the campus safe.”

Singlewire’s InformaCast software seamlessly integrates into the 120 different AtlasIED IPX speakers and visual displays installed throughout CCHS classrooms. In addition to classroom endpoints, CCHS employs 20 IP horns to deliver wide and intelligible audio coverage throughout campus common areas, parking garages, and lots. Between the in-classroom speakers and displays and outdoor horns, the IPX Series directs clear, comprehensive notifications throughout the expansive CCHS campus.

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AtlasIED’s IPX Series features a range of IP endpoints to address the school’s communications needs. The network-ready endpoints feature power over ethernet (PoE+) capabilities to aid in an easy, seamless installation process with fewer cables. PoE+ capabilities offer added scalability benefits, enabling CCHS to expand its system as the school continues to improve campus communications.

All IPX Series endpoints feature an onboard Class D amplifier and a PFMS port to power additional system speakers and deliver pristine, intelligible announcements. CCHS also possesses the power to input local audio sources, such as music or voice lift, into the endpoints, output audio to external devices, or dispatch pre-recorded critical alert messages. In addition, the IPX Series enables administration and faculty to communicate with one another through user-intuitive, two-way paging and intercom capabilities.

In addition to high-performance audio delivery, the IPX Series ensures ADA compliance with scrolling text, flashing, and color-changing LED screens to supplement auditory announcements. Apart from mission-critical announcements, CCHS uses the IPX Series for routine functions such as displaying the time and sharing day-to-day messages about school activities.

AtlasIED’s IPX Series featuring Singlewire’s Informacast helps give parents peace of mind by knowing they will receive timely and clear notifications about any school emergency. Singlewire integration also ensures students and faculty receive clear notice of the required emergency actions with auditory lockdown warnings and evacuation routes on classroom displays or other situational updates.

As CCHS continues to help shape the minds of the next generation, it looks forward to using cutting-edge technology such as AtlasIED’s IPX Series to help deliver the best experience possible and provide peace of mind. Not only for the students but for the faculty and parents as well.

“Technology is expected. Technology is no longer something that is optional and helpful. It is expected in everyday life,” adds Seage. “Having the right tools creates a better learning environment for the students, a better teaching environment for the teachers, a better safety environment for the administration.”


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