The monitor and controller of the video surveillance system are located prominently on the desk of Brian Grimm, dean of students and director of security at St. John Vianney High School.

Panasonic’s Super Dynamic II vandal-proof camera offers 64 times the dynamic range of conventional cameras. PHOTO COURTESY OF PANASONIC
Many schools are beginning to provide computers along with books and desks for students to use. The network at St. John Vianney High School in Holmdel, N.J., a co-ed, Catholic high school operated by the diocese of Trenton, has been upgraded to include wireless access throughout the building. Additionally, for the first time in school history, an entire class of incoming freshmen has been issued laptop computers.

With the addition of the laptop computers are new concerns about security. Overseeing the computers and new security system is the school’s principal, Joseph Deroba.

“We looked at products from a number of companies, with special attention to systems that offered network capabilities,” Deroba reported. “With Panasonic Security Systems, we liked the fact that the system was not computer-dependent but self-contained digital. This meant that we would still have video surveillance if our servers shut down. The images are also accessible over the Internet, which gives flexibility to managing the output.”

For the design and installation of their video surveillance system, St. John Vianney turned to Sectegra, an authorized Panasonic dealer. Joe Lonardo, Sectegra’s president, had been working with the school since 1996 and had installed wiring for its new computer network through another company he owns.

“We proposed three different solutions,” Lonardo explained. “St. John Vianney decided to develop the system in phases, beginning with a 16-camera, single DVR solution for phase one. We designed coverage for the main entrance of the school, plus all the corridors where lockers and classrooms are covered – basically the entire academic wing.

“All of the cameras are vandal-proof,” Lonardo continued. Because of varying lighting conditions throughout the school hallways at different times of the day, Sectegra designed the system using two different cameras: 11 WV-CW244F vandal-proof, flush-mount, color cameras and five WV-CW474AF vandal-proof, day/night, flush-mount, color dome cameras.

“Sectegra helped us solve sun glare issues in some of our corridors by specifying Super Dynamic cameras,” Deroba noted.

Exclusive Panasonic Super Dynamic II technology in the WV-CW474AF offers 64 times the dynamic range of conventional cameras, the company calculated. This is designed to eliminate common backlighting problems and provide clear images in highly contrasted lighting. Additionally, the camera offers day/night operation, which assures high image quality even when light levels drop low.

In interior areas where the light levels are consistent throughout the day, Sectegra installed Panasonic’s WV-CW244F vandal-proof cameras. The Ready-Tuff designation was essential for placement in the sometimes-challenging school environment to assure the cameras would withstand any adverse treatment.

The heart of the surveillance system is the WJ-HD316A/500 16-channel digital video recorder, which is located in the school’s server room. The monitor and controller sit prominently on the desk of the dean of students and director of security.

All components of the system are connected to the school’s network, so the principal also can control and view the cameras from his office. The system provides full functionality from network interfaces.

“The system allows us to monitor all 16 cameras individually or in any multiple of four, including all 16 cameras simultaneously,” Lonardo pointed out.

Although the acquisition of 500 laptop computers provided the impetus to install a video surveillance system, it has helped with other concerns. Lonardo recalled that shortly after the system was installed, the school experienced a bomb scare.

“The administration used the video surveillance system to make sure the school was cleared and all the students were safe,” Lonardo related. “Afterwards, they were able to review the recording and use it to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of their evacuation procedures. The video surveillance system helped lead to several changes in this policy to help ensure the safety of all students and faculty.”

Administrators at St. John Vianney already are looking to Sectegra for the second phase of their installation. “Phase two is now in the design process,” Lonardo announced. “It will incorporate another DVR with additional cameras for the school cafeteria, gymnasium and also outdoor perimeter surveillance including parking lots. With the addition of the WV-CL924A low-light camera, we’ll be able to capture license plates as cars enter and exit the school parking lot.”

St. John Vianney has made a commitment to bringing a new level of technology to its curriculum with the integration of laptop computers into the educational model. Now, with the installation of video surveillance, the school has extended its commitment by providing students with a safe and secure learning environment.