The Bizarre Fire Alarm System at my (Former) Middle School

I’ve mentioned the fire alarm system that is/was located in my middle school on this forum before, but what I haven’t mentioned was how bizarre it was, especially for a building built in 2008! I’m hoping some technicians or other members can help provide some insight on why some of the system is the way it is.
Anyways, here’s a little description of my middle school. There are five wings (Green, Red, Yellow, Blue, Purple) surrounding a cafeteria and gymnasium in the center. The main office and library are also located nearby. As I’ve already mentioned, the school was built in 2008, which is a bit part of the reason that this system is so bizarre. I suppose now I’ll actually get into what makes this system so unique…
All of the classrooms at my school are one of two sizes, give or take a few square feet, with the music and science rooms being the exceptions. Most have your typical newer school setup with a single horn/strobe in the front of the classroom. That was true with most of the classrooms in my middle school too, but my 6th grade math classroom had two horn/strobes (and two Simplex clocks). This classroom isn’t larger then any of the other classrooms, and it certainly isn’t larger then the science rooms, which only have one N/A. Now, next door to this classroom is another classroom that’s the exact same size. This room has a Truealert remote strobe. As far as I know, those are the only two conventional classrooms in the school to not have the one horn/strobe/one clock setup. Also, the bathrooms in the school have horn/strobes, and yet the entire library has remote strobes.

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Anything said about this installation is pretty much conjecture since nobody here has seen the original plans and specifications for the project. Over the years I was involved in many hundreds of installations and have seen many design changes in the name of Value Engineering (aka cost cutting) during the job.

Here is a possible explanation for this one.

[quote=“EpicFireAlarms” but my 6th grade math classroom had two horn/strobes (and two Simplex clocks). This classroom isn’t larger then any of the other classrooms, and it certainly isn’t larger then the science rooms, which only have one N/A. Now, next door to this classroom is another classroom that’s the exact same size. This room has a Truealert remote strobe. As far as I know, those are the only two conventional classrooms in the school to not have the one horn/strobe/one clock setup. [/quote]

It is possible these rooms were scheduled to be dividable rooms on the original plans. Is there a folding divider in these rooms? Do the rooms have one or two doors? It is possible that value engineering may have removed the folding divider and second door but the extra clock and fire alarm NA were left in the plans for possible future adding the divider.

I can only think that the library having strobes only was some kind of oversight by the design engineer and the fire marshal inspector. Libraries are quiet places but not that quiet, especially in a middle school.

[quote] It is possible these rooms were scheduled to be dividable rooms on the original plans. Is there a folding divider in these rooms? Do the rooms have one or two doors? It is possible that value engineering may have removed the folding divider and second door but the extra clock and fire alarm NA were left in the plans for possible future adding the divider.

[/quote]

Interestingly, none of the rooms in this school have dividers. Having a divider in just this one particular room wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense, but I suppose it’s possible. What keeps me scratching my head is the fact that this is the only classroom in the entire school to have such a setup. This classroom only has one exit door, but there are others that have two (although only one N/A).

My middle school was a open concept designed school built in the 70’s and their fire alarm system was overhauled in 2010 (part of a district wide upgrade to EST stuff from primarily Wheelock, Siemens, and Simplex). They had lots of dividing walls out in as it was quickly realized that the open concept design didn’t work in schools even though that was the “newest big thing” in schools at the time. Anywho, they installed Genesis remote strobes in every classroom and some had the remote strobes from the upgrade and the old Simplex 4903-9101/2901-9838 combos from the old system as they were intended when the classrooms were one giant room rather than several small rooms sectioned off over the years.

I’ve seen it before. There was a charter school I was working in with a very similar situation. There was a classroom on the 2nd floor that oddly had one horn/strobe and one strobe (whereas all the other classrooms had one horn/strobes). When I was looking on the prints for something, that one regular room was drawn as two small rooms with a wall down the middle (and drawn with a strobe in each). I’m guessing that during the construction, either they started building it as two rooms and changed their minds making it one, or right after the building was completed, they knocked the wall down. There is only one door, but when you look at the plans and look at the room, you can clearly see where there should be a door for the other “room” but is none. There is also another school that I know where they built a rather large “multipurpose” room that they ended up dividing up into several smaller rooms (a classroom, locker rooms, IDF room, and hallway) at some point after construction. They did such a good job in that when I walked back into the building after not being in there since it was built, I was a bit disorientated trying to figure out where the footprint of the original multipurpose room was.