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New lightning detection system at Center Grove schools

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A new storm-detection system in Greenwood is up and running, meant to protect students from lightning.

It’s called a Thorguard System and it went online March 1 at Center Grove schools.

Faculty members report that they have already used it a couple times to get kids inside when lightning is in the area.

Track practice at Center Grove Middle School North could turn dangerous if thunderstorms rolled in.

It’s been up to the coaches to decide when to move kids indoors.

“Before, coaches always had to guess when they want to come in or not,” track coach Kelly Rowand said. “Some coaches want to risk it more than others.”

But now everyone goes inside when they hear the alarm sound.

“Now with the system, it’s really great,” he said, “There’s no guess work in it for us, when it goes off, we come in.”

Police Chief Ray Jackson showed us how Center Grove’s new Thorguard lightning detection system works.

When it detects cloud to ground lighting up to two and a half miles away, the alarm goes off and the strobe light flashes.

“It allows our coaches ample time to get the kids out of that facility and into a safe environment,” he said.

The system also sounds the alarm three times when the danger is gone.

Thorguard works 24-7, so even before and after school and when students and spectators are outside for weekend events.

“Soccer games, we have track, we have cross country,” Jackson said.

The system is a relief for Rowand.

He knows first hand how dangerous lightning can be.

“I had a friend who was struck by lightning at a high school game and was killed,” he said, “We’re very fortunate that Center Grove put this in.”

The whole system cost just over $54,000 and it was approved by the school board back in 2013.

The system covers several buildings besides the middle schools and high school.

Here is a list provided by the school corporation:

The system installed at Center Grove High School will cover the entire main campus located along Stones Crossing Road, including the high school sports fields, Middle School Central’s campus, Center Grove Elementary, Bright Beginnings Early Learning Academy, Center Grove Alternative Academy, and the Professional Resource and Education Service Centers.

A second system at Middle School North will cover that campus, along with Pleasant Grove Elementary and Sugar Grove Elementary.

The buildings not covered by those systems, North Grove Elementary, Maple Grove Elementary, and the Transportation/Operations Center will receive message alerts directly from Thorguard.