Special Needs Hospital Secured Inside, and Out
Find out how a local security provider installed an advanced video surveillance solution, among other security and life-safety systems at a psychiatric care center.
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Located in Clarksburg, W.Va., the Highland-Clarksburg Hospital is a 150-bed behavioral psychiatric center that provides care to the criminally insane, as well as dual diagnosis substance abuse patients, children and adolescents, and intellectually disabled persons. The center celebrated a ribbon-cutting ceremony in May following the $35 million renovation of a former hospital building.
Because Highland-Clarksburg Hospital houses forensic patients and others who are considered a potential risk to themselves and staff members, the facility had to be fortified with construction materials specifically designed for a psychiatric center. Among the special implements are high impact-resistant drywall, special security light fixtures, interlocking metal ceiling panels and security plumbing fixtures. Also paramount to hospital administrators and the surrounding community was that the five-floor building be equipped with state-of-the-art security systems.
A family-owned security company with a stellar track record for quality control and customer service got the call to provide all of the low-voltage work. This included an access control system, a patient tracking system, overhead paging, a fire alarm upgrade, and the centerpiece, an IP-based, high-definition video surveillance solution. Laboring under an aggressive construction schedule, the security company’s technicians carried out their work in coordinated fashion among several other trades.
Read on to learn about the unique challenges they faced and how the systems they provided exceeded the end user’s expectations. Plus, a sidebar offers tips for gaining health-care business.
Reputation Is Provider’s Edge
The founding of Highland-Clarksburg Hospital began in 2010 when United Hospital Center donated its 21-acre, 415,000-square-foot facility after vacating the building for a newly built structure. In the wake of much politicking to gain approval for the psychiatric center and after financing was secured, a ceremonial “Renovate, Celebrate, Wall Smashing” party was finally held in January 2013. Attended by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, among other state, county and local dignitaries, hospital officials let it be known the renovation would be fast tracked. Soon more than 100 workers were onsite on any given day; the general contractor described the breakneck reconstruction as “managed chaos.”
Among the working crews were technicians from Appalachian Signals and Products Inc. (A.S.A.P.), a residential and commercial security provider based in Winfield, W.Va. How the company came to be selected for the job might be described as fortuitous if not for the fact it was essentially earned based on a strong reputation with the project’s electrical contractor, M&L Electric.
“The job was never bid out. It was a design-build project that came straight to us,” says A.S.A.P. Co-owner Renay Jarrell. “We had a relationship with M&L Electric. They came to us and said, ‘We have an unusual situation. We’d like to talk to you.'”
In this case, “unusual” partly referenced the added unique rigors of designing and installing security systems for a psychiatric center, the expedited construction schedule and the heightened profile the project garnered with area residents. “Because this is a rather large facility, and because they have several floors that are housing the criminally insane, security was of utmost importance to the community as well as the facility,” Jarrell says.
Once M&L Electric brought A.S.A.P. to the table, company principals met with Mike Casdorph, Highland-Clarksburg Hospital’s director of facility development and construction, to deliberate design plans and other facets of the project. Casdorph made the final decision to go forward with A.S.A.P.’s security plans.
“I had experience with another company that I had some issues with. The interview with A.S.A.P. was good; I went with them and I would do it again,” he says. “They did a good job on the layout and were always responsive to my questions.”
Hyper attention to a customer’s needs along with an emphasis on honesty and integrity are hallmarks of the company, says Jarrell, who established A.S.A.P. with her husband Randy Jarrell in 2000. Their son Adam Jarrell serves as operations manager.
“We are a small family business. In West Virginia, reputation is everything. This was a very large job that came to us based on our reputation. I can’t stress that enough; reputation means a lot.”
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