Your best bet, be it for general use in academic studies, health and safety concerns or simply security, would be to employ a digital two-way radio system, something like the Motorola SL4000. I’m specifically suggesting Motorola because they handle jobs like this all the time, several of which are detailed on their website.
In fact, the Motorola website details a case almost exactly like yours, where this technology was employed to great effect.
According to the site, the Cincinnati State Technical and Community College (CSTCC) was in a situation just like the one you outlined in your email. Here’s the basic issue…
“CSTCC is comprised of three campuses and over 1.3 million square feet. Until recently, the college used an all-analog system, components of which were 15 years old. According to Raymond Mirizzi, Director of Facilities atCSTCC, “We needed to upgrade our whole communications system,” and it was vital that the entire campus be covered with a radio solution that would support very clear, consistent and secure communications”.
How a two-way radio network helped the situation is also detailed.
“The three-part campus needed a supervisory channel that would provide the flexibility for critical security officers and related personnel to communicate during times of crisis. Of course, because such emergencies can arise at any time, it was also critically important that the migration from analog to digital proceed smoothly and quickly because even brief downtime could put the campus at risk”.
There are lots of companies other than Motorola, of course, but there’s no denying that they are giants in their field, with a long history of customer satisfaction. They are something like The ‘A’ Team in that respect. Still, if your budget doesn’t quite allow for bells and whistles, there are a number of quality independent firms that could do a very good job at a slightly more reasonable rate.
The reality here is that bargains are the exception, not the rule. That’s why we’re always so happy when we get one. By far your best bet is to get an expert to design and implement your faculty’s new communications method. It needn’t be the biggest company, but you want to spend a good amount on communications, as they really do save lives.