WS/FC Schools Will Get New Technology For Emergencies, Communications

WS/FC Schools Will Get New Technology For Emergencies, Communications

4:20pm Dec 11, 2020
Forsyth County's new radio communications system will allow the school district and other groups to work together during an evacuation or other emergency. KERI BROWN/WFDD

The radio communications system for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools is getting a major upgrade. It will directly connect school leaders and staff with local emergency officials if needed.

Forsyth County’s current 800 MHz public safety radio system was jointly purchased by the county and the city of Winston-Salem in 2002.

Since then, technology has changed a lot and the current infrastructure is no longer supported or produced by the manufacturer.

The estimated cost to replace it is $18 million, which would be split 50-50 between the City and the County. Most of the funding has been approved, and the project is moving forward.

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools is included in the upgrade. The district’s Darrell Walker says now bus drivers and staff will be able to communicate with law enforcement, hospitals, and local officials in an emergency. 

"Hopefully — and pray to God we never have to use it — but it’s one of those things that day to day, we will be able to communicate with drivers in non-emergency situations much better than we do today," says Walker.

A timeline for the new radio system is still unclear. County officials say that will depend on an assessment of current tower locations and whether or not more towers will be needed.  

They’re working with a consultant to issue a request for proposals, which is expected to be released in January.

*Follow WFDD's Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

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