When Shiloh Christian School, located in Bismarck, N.D., needed a security update, it turned to a local security integrator who just happened to be a school alumni to do the job.
Cameron Fleck, owner of Bismarck-based integrator NewVision Security, helped the school make several enhancements to campus safety and security over the summer of 2022. “As a Shiloh alum, I want the best for the future of Shiloh Christian School,” Fleck said. “I am thrilled that I was given the opportunity to help make the school a safer environment. The updated technology, along with Shiloh leadership’s careful planning, means many distractions and crimes can be prevented, and the learning environment can be improved.”
Shiloh Superintendent Todd Benson said, “Cameron found a way to get these projects done using the resources we already had. Using our existing camera infrastructure and with the help of a few key donors, we are better able to set up systems that allow for real-time monitoring of our school. Along with an enhanced camera system, we also improved traffic safety in our small parking lot, implemented a new visitor management system, and installed air quality detection sensors throughout the school. All of this has made our school safer for students, teachers and staff.”
Shiloh Christian School is a non-denominational Christian school serving preschool through grade 12. With more than 600 students on a single campus, it is the largest non-denominational education system in North Dakota.
NewVision started discussing security with Shiloh about three years ago. “We have a prior relationship with NewVision as they have assisted us in other installations to improve our safety and security measures, specifically in the area of camera surveillance,” Benson said. “We were examining areas of our operations from a safety and security standpoint. We concluded that the installations would increase our ability to keep our students and staff safe.”
Because Shiloh is a nonprofit school, fundraising was critical to paying for the project, and the school planned to phase in the work based on fundraising efforts. “We had several sit-down meetings and discussed fundraising opportunities due to Shiloh Christian being a nonprofit school,” Fleck said. “We helped along in the process quite a bit as I am a Shiloh alumni so I understood the buildings we were working with and the needs.”
For its latest security upgrade, Shiloh was especially interested in controlling the flow of traffic in the parking lot to accommodate the school’s future growth, and adding security cameras to help ensure safety in the student pick-up and drop-off processes, Fleck said. “Cameras in the ‘hang-out’ spots like the lunchroom and hallways for the students were a priority, too,” he added.
The work was done in phases to accommodate the school’s fundraising budget. Since the exterior cameras were a priority, NewVision installed these first, followed by cameras in the interior halls, and finally moving to locking down exterior doors.
“Phasing a project is always difficult,” Fleck said. “We spent a lot of time with the end user, Todd and his staff, to gain a full understanding of their budget and immediate needs. Taking that time into perspective, along with building the system and understanding it, took some time. After about three years in the works and a minimal budget to work with, I am happy to say Shiloh is a more secure and safer campus.”
Specific products used included enterprise-level Axis cameras; multisensor and wide-angle cameras in the parking lots; RFID keycard access; HALO smoke and vape detectors in locker rooms and bathrooms; gunshot detection and aggression recognition systems; and the Splan visitor management system.
“Visitor management was installed to help understand who is in and out of the school building and when,” Fleck said. “This also locks down the exterior doors, requiring all incoming persons to check in for safety.”
Since the installation was completed last summer, the school is safer and more secure, Fleck said. “Everyone from the principal to the security resource officer is monitoring cameras on computers and cell phones to allow for a safer environment,” he said. “Every person in and out is being managed and the doors are locked down, restricting open flow of traffic.”
The additional security measures have increased Shiloh administration’s ability to restrict entrance to their facility via the main office and contact law enforcement in the event of an emergency, using panic buttons. “The additions have made Shiloh School safer for everyone,” Benson said.