Our low-voltage specialist on staff has spent the last year building up his knowledge of data projector installation through three on-campus projects. These first installations took a long time and ended up causing quite a headache. We spent weeks waiting for a local technician to assist with the installations, then we gave up on him, and Toby spent some more weeks finding distributors for the cables, face plates, mounting brackets, amplifiers, and speakers that he would need to complete the jobs himself. Now, we are sitting pretty with established contacts and the internal expertise to perform additional installations ourselves, moving our school more quickly toward the ultimate goal of an installed audiovisual system in every classroom. This summer, Toby is going to perform six installations himself, and we are wrapping another eleven installations into a construction project.
The cost savings is fantastic. We estimate the total cost of an installation to be in the neighborhood of $2,000, though installers will charge $6,000-$9,000 for similar work. That’s all-inclusive: the data projector, speakers, VCR/DVD players, all labor (estimate based on salary), and all associated hardware. Installations included in construction are more expensive, but their cost is pretty small compared to the cost of renovating buildings. It is easier to work audiovisual installation into a construction budget than into our operating budget. We only plan to include Smart Boards in those classrooms where the teachers expressly want them, though the installations will be design to make the later addition of a Smart Board easy.