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Miami Dade County Public Schools, Miami, Florida

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Miami Dade County Public Schools, Miami, Florida

Project Overview:
Miami Dade County Public Schools is the fourth largest school district in the nation with over 360 school sites, including 48 senior high schools whose athletic fields are supervised by Dwayne Willis. In an effort to improve the condition of their heavily used athletic fields, the district initially sought to install a water-efficient irrigation system on five of its senior high athletic fields with future plans to update all of their high schools as well as the district’s remaining elementary and middle schools. Featuring Bermuda or Celebration grass, each of the five sites consists of a football field with a running track, baseball field, softball field and all-purpose fields. Each facility is utilized by senior high students daily during the week and often over the weekend.

Challenge:
A large number of injuries and potential law suits due to poor playing conditions made improvements to the high school fields imperative. Because of extensive student use, the athletic fields demand precise scheduling, management and rapid troubleshooting of the multiple sites with a very small staff on a tight budget. The senior high facilities are separated from one another by up to eight miles and are located more than 10 miles from the central control computer. With plans to eventually have all 360 school sites on a central control system, the district needed a system that was affordable, but allowed for significant expansion, central control and water-saving upgrades.

Solution:
By installing a Rain Bird® IQ™ v2.0 Central Control System and ESP-LXME Controllers, Willis got the simple irrigation management and monitoring he needed now, and a system he could build on for years to come. “The ingenious design of IQ v2.0 and the ESP-LXME Controller allows for easy installation and training at each individual school site,” explained Willis. The new communication options available with v2.0 further simplify system installation and training and solved one of Wills’ biggest challenges. “By utilizing each school’s existing telephone system for communication between IQ v2.0 and the controllers, we were able add central control without an added monthly cost,” said Willis. “When questions do arise, the Rain Bird service behind each product always provides impeccable support.” Finally, the built-in forward and backward capability of Rain Bird products gives the district the ability to adapt and improve with any irrigation scenario, regardless of budget or scope.

Cost and Water Savings:
Although the system has not been operational long enough to yield documented savings, short-term results have included improved athletic field quality, fewer repairs and streamlined maintenance procedures. IQ v2.0 and ESP-LXME Controllers have reduced the number of man hours required to maintain the facilities, while also minimizing the number of accidents by students utilizing the fields. Through innovative technology, Rain Bird has helped the district achieve its goal for healthier playing surfaces, even at a time when operating budgets are very low.

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