Customer: Allegheny Valley School District
Location: Springdale High School in Springdale, PA
Vertical Market: Education
Partner: J.E. Foss Company
Product: Optoma TX612
Deal Size: 23 projectors
What Closed the Deal: Best price/performance combined with affordable maintenance and lowest lamp replacement cost.
Hed: Optoma Projectors Springdale High
Dec: TX612 Delivers Effective Education and Affordability
Walking down the halls of Springdale Junior-Senior High School during class time can only be called peaceful. On an average day, students are glued to their lessons—whether its math, reading, science or social studies. Projectors are a big part of that success, says Brian S. Novak, AV coordinator and video production coordinator at Springdale Junior and Senior High School in Springdale, PA.
“It’s a given that if we put a projector in the classroom, it’s going to get used,” Novak added. “I remember walking down a hallway of 20 classrooms and in 18 of those rooms, the lights were out and the projector was on. Not one head was down on the table. There was no excessive talking. Ultimately, that’s the best part of having a projector. You turn off the lights and all focus goes to the screen.”
Recently, the Allegheny Valley School District realized that it was time to rebuild its Springdale Junior and Senior High School. Since the district had already embraced technology as a key part of the education, excellent technology, especially Optoma’s TX612 high-brightness multimedia projectors, became an important part of the new building, a $20 million dollar project. These projectors combined best-in-class brightness and contrast, sleek styling and budget-friendly affordable lamp replacement.
Projecting the Future of Education
The district is dedicated to ensuring that technology supports teaching in every classroom. “We are very technology forward,” said Novak, adding that the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) recognized the district in as a School of Excellence in Technology for 2011. “We are not a Classrooms for the Future school [a designation that is part of a Pennsylvania state education reform program],” said Novak. “We like to feel that our technology exceeds that. We won the award because of the way we integrate technology across the curriculum.” Located twenty miles north of Pittsburgh, the Allegheny Valley School District educates just over 1,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade schools.
The schools in the Allegheny Valley School District integrate a broad range of technology in its schools. Every classroom routinely includes projectors, document cameras, DVD players and VCRs, all connected to a projector using VGA, composite, and s-video connections. In addition, the school has adopted virtual servers and invested in software that computerizes everything from the cafeterias and school maintenance department to teachers’ grade books. School buildings have been connected with a high-speed fiber optic network since the mid-1990s.
“Everyone uses projectors, from kindergarten through 12th grade, in all disciplines from the elementary classes up to advanced math and science,” said Novak. “It’s easy to use them in core subjects, with PowerPoint presentations and films, but we take pride in making sure technology is used in content areas that do not traditionally use technology.”
Finding the Right Fit
After considering the district’s increasingly tight budget and demand for top-notch performance, the school chose to put an Optoma TX612 in each of the 23 classrooms. “We were looking for a projector that would fit his lens requirements and we wanted a bright projector that would still fit into his budget,” said Gary Spezialetti, vice president at J.E. Foss Company, the Bethel Park, PA-based solution provider who helped the school district make its technology selection.
The Optoma TX612 proved to be a clear choice. “You can get any number of projectors for $600, but I haven’t seen anything else that comes close to the 3400 lumens brightness combined with a 3000:1 contrast ratio that the TX612 offers,” said Novak, adding that the sleek design of the projector fit in nicely to the bright and contemporary look of the new classrooms.
Ongoing maintenance was another key factor. “The replacement bulb for this projector cost half of what other projectors are running, and that made sense to me as an A/V guy with a budget,” said Novak.
Finally, the projectors proved easy to use, so that teachers could get up and running using the equipment immediately. “We didn’t even train them other than basically how to turn it on and switch between sources,” Novak said. “They were so excited to use it that they were already thinking about how to change their teaching style and lessons to use the projectors more.” The clearly-marked remote control was particularly helpful as teachers switched between various sources, Novak added.
The Allegheny Valley School District is notable in its use of technology, but the district is on the front of a curve that has many schools looking to do more with less. “Five years ago, everyone basically put a projector on a cart so it could be moved from room to room. Now, we are seeing more and more schools wanting projectors installed in every classroom,” said Spezialetti. “Not too many districts can afford to spend $20,000 per room so they are looking for ways to get what they want affordably.”
To help save cost, Novak installed the projectors himself with the help of the school’s maintenance department. In the end, the district put projectors in 23 classrooms at a cost of less than $50,000 all told—a fraction of what they might have spent. “If push came to shove and I found that I needed to replace projectors, there is no doubt in my mind that I would go with Optoma for price and lumens alone,” said Novak.