Digital map funding stems from Del. Rob Bell’s school safety bill

Delegate Rob Bell of Albemarle County speakng
Delegate Rob Bell of Albemarle County speakng
Published: Apr. 30, 2022 at 8:32 PM EDT
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -Albemarle County’s Delegate Rob Bell initially introduced a bill requiring accurate, detailed floor plans for schools.

It passed unanimously in the House and Senate, and now Governor Glenn Youngkin is proposing $6.5 million in funding to make those maps digital.

“Having it online, available to be sent out through digital means, of course, will make it even faster,” 58th District Delegate Rob Bell said.

Bell says law enforcement reached out to him explaining the need for a tool like this.

“Some of that information is available, but having a quick and easy access to an accurate, digital floorplan that we can then have in those computers would be fantastic,” Chief John Oprandy with Albemarle County Emergency Management said.

Having an accurate map on paper is one thing, but lawmakers and law enforcement say this is the next step. Delegate Bell says it will speed up the response for first responders. Chief Oprandy says it could save lives.

He says then the paramedics in ambulances can quickly pull up maps on the computers in their vehicles. Bell says first responders could even pull it up on their phones.

Emily Pelliccia with the Charlottesville Fire Department says Charlottesville City Schools already uses digital floor plans. She now wants the rest of the commonwealth able to use this tool.

“Establishing those relationships and knowing our public school partners, and private school, all of the school partners and all of the experts in childhood development, it’s just critical,” Pelliccia said.

Delegate Bell says this proposed funding will make that happen.

“Having the money available through grants will make it easier for some schools,” Bell said. “You can certainly imagine school districts that are feeling pinched and don’t want new expenses, this would make it available to them and make it easier for them to get it.”

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