Colbert County Schools among First in State to Incorporate All Facilities into Virtual Alabama

by Shae Owens | Sep 04, 2014
From The TimesDaily, May 18, 2013:

Colbert adopts safety plan
By Lisa Singleton-Rickman
The TimesDaily


The Colbert County school board unveiled its safety plan for the school district, making the system among the first in the state to have all of its facilities incorporated into the Virtual Alabama School Safety System.

The school safety plan through Virtual Alabama is a state requirement for all K-12 schools. The program began in 2009, and the Colbert County system was one of the first to begin inputting its school system’s mapping into the computer-based system.

Jacob Cook [GIS Projects Manager for the Auburn University at Montgomery Center for Government & Public Affairs], who has implemented the statewide Virtual Alabama program, told school board members Thursday night that the Colbert school district is one of only 46 in the state with all schools mapped in the system.

He credited Federal Programs/Safety Coordinator Gale Satchel with taking a proactive approach to safety and ensuring that the district was quick to complete the mapping.

“Alabama is the first state in the nation to develop this extensive school safety plan,” Cook said.

“It contains a detailed floor plan and is geospatially aligned with color-coded classrooms and labels them by name in the system. That’s the case for every single facility in the district. It locates utility points, right down to electrical panels and breakers.”

The program accounts for chemicals on campus, their location and gives a 360-degree view of rooms in the building, showing every exit from the room and building.

Satchel said the system’s diligence in joining Virtual Alabama is a matter of being proactive instead of reactive.

“We pray that a tragedy or crisis situation never happens in our school system, but if it does, I know we’re as capable as possible of handling it,” Satchel said.

Law enforcement and emergency management agencies as well as school officials throughout the district have access to the Virtual Alabama system and can monitor schools at any time, locating immediately where a problem exists.



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