A portion of the parking lot adjacent to the Newton Gresham Library will be closed Saturday morning to allow for the installation of an upgraded radio system on the campus of Sam Houston State University.
According to the project charter, for the last decade, SHSU has been using two-way radio communications for multiple departments and divisions across the campus. Additionally, Facilities Management has been using this type of system for the last 30 years.
Currently, SHSU utilizes approximately 350 hand-held radios on campus using three repeaters for communication across the campus.
The parking lot closure this weekend will allow a crane to lift equipment to the roof of the building necessary for the radio upgrade project. Roughly 20-24 parking spots will be unavailable from 7 a.m. until noon Saturday.
According to Stephanie Fors, director of Client Services for IT@Sam, the update will not only keep the campus up-to-date but will also improve communication across the university.
“Basically, we have an analog radio system that is outdated and overloaded and certainly in need of not only updating but also the ability to expand the system and users,” Fors said.
Current issues with the legacy analog system include party-line-type communication that is overloading the repeaters and static on non-intelligible communication. As stated in the project charter, a digital system will solve these issues and allow for the future expansion of services.
“This will allow the university to expand its radio services,” Fors said. “There should be no adverse impact to the students at all. In fact, this should allow for better and clearer communication among departments and within specific user groups for better service delivery.”
The charter also states that when the new Federal Communications Commission mandated narrow banding to 6.25 KHz goes into effect, the current system will also become obsolete.
The new system will support all of the campus users in a configuration that will provide non-shared access to their own talk group is needed.
The project is being funded mainly through Higher Education Assistance Fund allocations. However, roughly 20 percent of the total is being funded by the Division of Information Technology’s operations and maintenance funds which currently supports the radio program, according to Fors.
“The current state of radio communications is inadequate and becoming obsolete,” Fors said. “This change will align the university’s radio communications with not only improved service delivery through improved communications but also will be in compliance with future FCC regulations and changes.”
Although Saturday will not be the completion of the project, according to Fors it’s a vital part of the process.
“The entire project is going to take some time since it spans a number of departments throughout the University,” Fors said. “We’re putting in infrastructure so the university has the ability to expand their radio communications, so there will be additions and other minor milestones for the next several months.”