Public address, door access and wireless clock systems will be replaced this summer at Prairie View and Patrick Marsh middle schools, thanks to action taken Monday April 12 by the Sun Prairie School Board to approve up to $290,272 to replace public address systems at both middle schools.

Sun Prairie Area School District Director of Facilities and Grounds Kevin Sukow wrote in his report to the board that both middle schools were built and opened in 1998.

Both schools were built using similar floor plans, so many of the systems are identical between buildings that are either reaching the end of their useful life spans or are lagging behind in technology and should be replaced, according to Sukow.

The Public Address (PA) Systems at each school — original to the buildings — are a Telecor II system, hardwired to a head-end unit that is located in the rear of each Main Office.

Sukow said the PA system utilizes a telephone to program schedules, which is time consuming and requires a more advanced knowledge of the system.

In 2016, the SPASD began implementing Valcom paging systems in buildings to allow for commonality of operation, parts and interoperability.

Sukow wrote in his report that the first install was at Northside Elementary, and the following year Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School (soon to be Central Heights Middle School), Meadow View, and Token Springs all saw Valcom systems installed.

Last summer, CH Bird and Royal Oaks elementary schools had Valcom systems installed.

“The Valcom system is designed to be managed and programmed via software, which provides more control over the system and is easier to operate and program,” Sukow wrote in his report.

Through integration with phone systems, the system allows paging to occur districtwide.

“Generally, the Valcom system is well liked by district staff,” Sukow added. “They especially appreciate being able to choose bell tones and programming via a computer.”

But just as technology has advanced in the last 25 years, there will be similar advancements in the future.

Sukow reported that a system that works with an Internet Protocol/analog hybrid technology to keep component costs more manageable has been requested.

“However, the installation will occur in such a way that the infrastructure is in place for a transition to a full IP system in the future,” Sukow wrote.

The installation will also require full removal of the old system, with no unused wires left in the ceiling.

Sukow recommended acceptance of an alternate bid to separate the new PA system wiring from other low-voltage wiring systems for ease of maintenance and future expansion.

The project is planned to be completed this summer along other low-voltage system replacement projects, including the Door Access system and Clock/Timing system, according to Sukow.

A request for proposals solicited four different companies, all of whom the district has worked with and has felt could complete the project satisfactorily, according to Sukow.

The SPASD received bids from Globalcom and Heartland Business Systems. Johnson Controls was planning to submit a bid but did not, Show added, and Faith Technologies did not respond.

On top of the base bid, Sukow recommended accepting alternate bids to have the new cabling run with new, dedicated J-Hooks to separate the PA system cabling from other low-voltage cabling in the building.

“Accepting a small alternate bid to add Bluetooth input capability is also recommended to allow an easier way for audio from media players or radio to be played through the PA system,” Sukow wrote.

As with other district construction projects, Sukow recommended allocating a 5% contingency held by SPASD to allow for unforeseen conditions that might arise once work begins that create additional costs for the contractor.

In his report, Sukow recommended Globalcom as the contractor for the project. “The district has a good history working with Globalcom,” Sukow wrote. “Most recent projects include the installation of the security camera system for the Bank of Sun Prairie Stadium at Ashley Field and structured cabling and Valcom work at both Meadow View and Token Springs Elementary schools.”

The cost for each building, with the accepted alternate bids is $138,225. The total for both buildings will be $276,450, with the 5% contingency adding $13,822 to the project for a total of $290,272.

In discussing the proposal with the board, district administration reminded the board of the age of the systems in both middle schools.

“The technology — really — it’s time,” remarked Assistant Superintendent of Operations Janet Rosseter.

Board member Carol Albright commented that she appreciates SPASD going with a system that is more universal to all the schools and that will have interchangeable parts.

The board’s approval now means significant work will start on June 11, and substantial completion of the project will occur before Aug. 9, 2021.

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