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BoE approves $3.6M tech upgrade

POSTED: July 28, 2012 7:00 a.m.

The Liberty County Board of Education approved a $3.6 million capital project Wednesday — but it’s not in bricks and mortar.

During a called meeting, Chairwoman Lily Baker and present board members Verdell Jones, Carol Guyett and Harold Woods voted unanimously to approve a system-wide wireless Internet upgrade.

The board allocated about $2.6 million for the project in June when prioritizing its next round of capital outlay expenditures, though the board did not take action on the matter.

The upgrades are projected to increase wireless connectivity at all 14 schools and maintain flexible Internet filtering to accommodate the increased use of devices such as iPads and iPods, according to Assistant Superintendent Jason Rogers.

“What we’re recommending is looking at what pieces of this puzzle we can actually lease, so that at the end of three years we’re not stuck in the same position having to go out and repurchase everything again,” he said. “With this option, we’ll be able to do what’s called a ‘refresh’ and basically get up-to-date equipment, continue on our process.”

Wireless equipment is ever-evolving, but the board would have the option to purchase the system’s leased equipment at the end of its lease periods if the board so chose, Rogers said. The equipment will be purchased and leased through Cisco Systems and Adcap Network Systems.

Payment for the upgrade will be made over the next four years. Rogers presented the following summary of expenditures:

• Year 1: Total of $2,626,331 — includes switching equipment at $1,525,572; professional services at $674,277; first-year lease at $426,481

• Year 2: second-year lease at $426,481

• Year 3: third-year lease at $426,481

• Year 4: fourth-year lease at $217,005

Rogers asked the board to act on the matter sooner than anticipated to negotiate on price as the company’s year comes to an end.
The board’s next meeting is 9 a.m. Tuesday at 200 Bradwell St.

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