BFA’s Intercom System to Get Upgraded

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Andrew Weinstein, Contributor

In 2022, midway through the winter season, Bellows Free Academy began to suffer from an old and temperamental intercom system finally starting to show its age. After many weeks of attempted fixes, ear piercings-noises and wide variations in volume and audio quality, the administration decided to bite the bullet and stop airing the bells over the intercom.

Currently, most of the intercoms are at least capable of airing announcements; however, the bells are still out of commission, and students are still left not knowing when their classes are truly over without having their teachers to confirm that they are allowed to go. 

According to BFA’s Director of Facilities, Leonard Smith, the root of this issue has stemmed from the wide variety of expansions to the system over the years. After 50 years of re-wiring, additions to the system and the recent increase of changes done to the school, the issues began to pile up.

“[The intercom system] has always had issues since I’ve been here, which [has] had to do with the bells/music,” Smith said.

With all the construction done to the school over the summer, specifically in relation to the sprinkler system, Smith said it was also suspected that several ground faults could have been generated, as well as the amplifiers being overwhelmed from many years of inconsistent additions.  With the relatively recent connection of the two buildings, it was no surprise when the entire system began to act up.

In The Mercury’s interview with BFA’s Assistant Principal, Sara Kattam, she said that whether or not the bells return “all depends on whether they can fix the speaker system.” As such, the fate of the bell’s return is greatly dependent on the system’s replacement, which will be done over the summer. 

Although students have spent over a third of the year without the bells, most students have become acclimated to the situation.

At most, the bell’s removal has “forced people to look at their watch a little bit more,” Kattam said.  

Fortunately, for the students of BFA, this will not likely be the case next year as Smith said “That by August there will be a new system.”