The Loudoun County school boardroom got a big upgrade over the summer, thanks to a grant from the county government.
The school system installed four new high-definition digital cameras and a new control room, along with upgraded cabling in the school board meeting room. It also replaced the camera and upgraded the cabling in an auxiliary meeting room. Re-airing of meetings will be quicker and more efficient.
The cameras and control room were paid for with $384,276 in Public Education and Government Grant Channels funds. Money for the grants is collected by Verizon and Comcast and provided to Loudoun County to improve broadcast of public information, including public access channels, education channels and government channels, and to increase bandwidth capacity at schools.
“This greatly improves the quality of the broadcast and webcast. It also allows us to incorporate enhanced graphics into our broadcasts,” Public Information Officer Wayde Byard said. “We were able to do this without a dime of taxpayer money.”
The School Board requested the funds for this project from the Board of Supervisors in February. Funding was approved by the supervisors in March, and the upgrades were made in July.
“Earlier this year, one of the four analog cameras in the school board meeting room burned out and we were faced with the option of repairing or upgrading our system. Since the industry standard has moved to digital from analog, we thought the best investment was to upgrade,” Byard said. “To a degree, the new equipment we bought is ‘future-proof,’ meaning we can add new technology modules as they become available. That was not possible with the older system.”
The equipment was purchased through Mechanicsville-based company Digital Video Group, which also installed the equipment and provided training to school staff members.
Re-wiring the meeting room to meet the standards set by the new digital equipment cost $35,516, which was covered by school system funds. Building Infrastructure Group out of Chantilly completed that part of the project.
The expansion of the control room and the reinforcement of the four camera wells was completed by the school system’s Department of Support Services.