PARIS – A new fire alarm system designed to get the attention of hearing-impaired students has been installed at the Oxford Hills Middle School.

Although the school always had a fire alarm system, it did not meet newer codes that require the addition of strobe lights for buildings with hearing impaired students.

“We have some who need the strobes,” said Superintendent Mark Eastman. The new system has flashing strobe lights and a voice-activated message to warn other students and staff in addition to the normal fire alarm bells. The portables will also be up to fire code shortly, he said.

Other schools, such as Hebron and Paris elementary schools, were retrofitted with the newer fire alarm system when they were constructed.

The system is being paid for with part of the $1.1 million state Revolving Renovation Fund program the school received last year. A total of 60 percent of the money is state funding and the other 40 is local funding.

The grant has been used to address health, safety and air quality issues within the district’s buildings. SAD 17 got 20 percent of the program grant money available statewide.

The projects, part of a 10-year capital improvement plan, were all designed to address health, safety and American With Disabilities Act issues.

In addition to the $143,400 being spent to address fire safety issues at the middle school and $84,000 to address American with Disabilities Act upgrades, the money has been spent at other schools. For example, a total of $41,550 is being spent at the Harrison Elementary School to make upgrades to the school’s bathrooms and fire alarm systems and to provide automatic door openers. Similar projects are being carried out at the Guy E. Rowe Elementary School and other schools.

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