For whom the bell tolls

On Wednesday, Nov. 8th, Medina High School staff and students noticed a difference in the start of the day, the tone of the bell had changed. Louder than its precedent, the bell rang in a new era of technology at MHS.

“The bell system we were using was a fine piece of equipment in 2002,” said Administrative Secretary Mrs. Karoline Balas.  “In terms of technology, it’s 15 years old and simply outdated.”

Known as “the bell tower”, the system consisted of a speaker, amplifier and control panel. The new system consists of the app “Bell Commander” run on a laptop.

“I put in three separate schedules in less than five minutes, now if I would’ve done that on the old one it probably would’ve taken me 45 minutes,” said Balas. 

The new system also offers more flexibility in tone options. Medina City Schools Director of Technology, Mr. Ryan O’Cull, said it now consists of computer-generated files instead of the single tone that was programmed in the machine.

Even though the new bells have drawn complaints regarding volume and pitch, Balas said, “We’re just going to keep working the kinks out of it, and we’ll use the old one as a backup.”

Along with reliability,  the decision to switch systems was more cost-efficient than its alternative.

“The cost of maintaining it (“the bell tower”) doesn’t make sense, compared to the efficient piece of equipment we put in there for $100,” said O’Cull. “It was a key system where you would have to plug in every individual bell and this is just a point, click, set the calendar.”