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The Smackover-Norphlet School Board recently voted to approve work on the Norphlet campus to rewire the fire alarm and intercom systems in preparation for the school district’s reorganization for the coming school year.

While in years past, the district has had an elementary school on both the Smackover and Norphlet campuses, earlier this year, the school board voted to turn Norphlet into a full middle school campus with fifth through eighth grade students located there. Meanwhile, kindergarten through fourth grade will be on the Smackover Elementary campus with ninth through 12th grades remaining on the Smackover High School campus.

Due to this reorganization, the fire alarm system in the north and south wings of the Norphlet Elementary school will be rewired to run into the middle school building and connect with that system.

Meanwhile, the intercom system will also need to be rewired, though that system will only need to go into the network switch, which is already located in the same building, meaning the project is not expected to be as extensive.

The board approved that work without hesitation at a meeting Tuesday, but spent more time discussing two proposals on installing bullet cameras at several locations at each campus.

The board also looked over a quote for adding a camera to what used to be the fifth and sixth grade playground. As part of the reorganization, the Smackover Preschool is going to be moving to the Norphlet campus and using that playground.

Between the playground camera quote and another to add cameras into the old and new gym on the Norphlet campus, there would be no gaps in camera coverage on the campus. The second quote also looked at adding cameras to the Smackover gym and the athletic facility due to the school’s updated policy about public use of those facilities.

Both of the camera jobs were tabled by the board, which opted to spend more time looking into the situation to see if it’s something the school district could do on it’s own, which could potentially save around $10,000, said board member Damon Goodwin.

Jana Reynolds, Smackover-Norphlet administrative director of technology, said that when she was getting the quotes she asked whether wiring the cameras was something the school district could do and was told that it would void the warranty on the equipment.

“I’ve questioned that,” she said.

Goodwin said the cameras are readily available. When asked about the necessity of the warranty, Reynolds said these would be the same cameras that are already being used at the schools and, besides one that was damaged out of the box, the school district has not needed to replace any since she’s been at the district.

Reynolds said her main concern with installing the cameras herself would be those that go in at the gyms and athletic facility.

“That one at the elementary school isn’t that big of a deal (to install),” she said. “It mounts on the side of the building and goes right in there to the network switch. The ones in the gym, you’re talking about running conduit through there. … I’m not comfortable doing the gyms by myself. I don’t mind helping, I’m just not comfortable drilling the hole by myself.”

Board members asked if the district employs maintenance people who could help, and Reynolds said that could work.

The only other issue is timing. Reynolds said if the district opts to do install the cameras through in-house staff, it could be done by the start of school, but if the outside company were to do it then it probably wouldn’t be done in time for the August start date.

Michael Shine may be reached at 870-862-6611 or mshine@eldoradonews.com. Follow him on Twitter and like him on Facebook @MichaelAZShine for updates on Union County school news.

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