Paris Elementary School in Taylors, SC, has a storied history, and protecting the new school building from potential fire hazard was a key concern from the project’s inception. Its designers required an addressable fire alarm control panel capable of dialing to a central station.
The School District of Greenville County, SC, is the largest public school system in the state. The area served by the district covers 800 square miles and includes parts of three counties.

Greenville County was chosen as the recipient of one of the state's most ambitious building initiatives: a five-year construction and renovation project that would encompass up to 72 schools in the district. The full contract, which includes renovation and/or new construction for the 72 schools that make up Greenville County, is slated for completion in 2006 at a cost of approximately $862 million. Seventeen schools have already opened; 17 more schools are in the construction process and several more are in their commissioning phases.

This project is unique because it is a first for the state of South Carolina: outsourcing a project for an entire group of schools. To begin this bold initiative, the Greenville County Schools, in second quarter 2003, hired Institutional Resources (IR), a local construction management consortium, to install the fire protection and security technology. Blue Ridge Security Systems (BRSS), a security systems integrator, was the successful bidder for the fire technology.

Protecting history

BRSS proposed installing fire protection technology from Fire-Lite Alarms in all of the schools. The plan called for the installation of fire-protection equipment in the first school, Paris Elementary, in early 2004. The company could not have selected a more distinctive school to kick off the project; in fact, for a number of reasons, the school, located in Taylors, SC, boasts perhaps the most interesting location of any school in the Palmetto state. At the outbreak of World War I, Paris School was forced to move to the intersection of Paris Mountain Road and Mountain Creek Road, vacating the original site for the center of Camp Sevier. It remained there until the close of the war, after which it was moved back to the present location.

With such a storied history, protecting the school from potential fire hazard took on special significance. To ensure the optimal solution, Paris Elementary needed an addressable fire alarm control panel capable of dialing to a central station. (Paris is linked to the Greenville County School's own central station facility, which, like the Paris School, is located in Taylors.)

Ultimately, BRSS chose to install the new Fire-Lite MS-9200UD addressable fire alarm control panel based on ease of use, simplicity, and reliability. The MS-9200UD, which was installed in the mechanical room on the school's first floor, features advanced auto-programming capabilities, reducing installation time and overall cost.

The company's newest intelligent addressable fire alarm control panel, the MS-9200UD includes an integral remote upload/download communicator, which allows for reporting of all system activity to a remote monitoring location. Using a Windows®-based software package, the installer can command the MS-9200UD to program itself in less than one minute. The new panel also contains a built-in NAC Synchronization for easier user interface and has a capacity of 198 addressable Fire-Lite devices on one loop.

Like the MS-9600, the new panel is unique in the addressable market due to the strength of its smoke detector line, which includes Fire-Lite's new addressable heat and duct detectors and full line of monitor and control modules. BRSS complemented the MS-9200UD with the following ancillary equipment: thermal detectors, addressable photoelectric detectors, pull stations, a relay and monitoring module, six-relay control modules and 20 door hold-opener-devices designed to hold doors open in emergencies.

BRSS also installed horns and strobes from Fire-Lite's sister company, System Sensor. Although the complete fire protection and security installation took several months to coordinate, the Fire-Lite and System Sensor equipment took just a week and a half to install.

Resting easy

"It was my responsibility to install a system that provided the greatest level of protection for our students and staff," said Bryan Morris, executive director of construction for the district. "I have every confidence that this system will provide that protection, and we are planning to install more systems throughout the district."

The life safety system has been operating successfully since January 2004 and school officials are pleased that they can rest assured, knowing that their new building is fully-equipped with the latest in life safety technology.

"As educators, it is our mission to focus on educating our students," said Sue Anne Link, principal at Paris Elementary School. "The greatest compliment I can pay to this fire system is that we no longer have to worry about what to do in case of an emergency." ES