Computer infrastructure upgrade to cost Minooka High over $700K
By Kris Stadalsky For The Herald-News April 17, 2011 5:28PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
MINOOKA — Minooka High School Board approved a request from the district’s Technology Committee to spend more than $739,000 to continue upgrading the computer infrastructure at the district’s central campus.
Approval was given to seek bids for removal and replacement of the old fiber wire backbone throughout the school. The committee estimates the rewiring to cost about $400,000.
As part of the same project, the board approved two companies, Sentinel Technology and Cisco Systems, to replace and upgrade switches and network equipment and install wireless connections in all instructional areas of the school at a cost of $339,543.
The current work is part of an ongoing project to bring technology up to speed at central campus. Parts of the wired network at the campus are 17 years old and the rating is four to five levels below current standards, district business manager Todd Drafall said.
The fiber backbone cannot handle the current network traffic needs, which will continue to grow. The school’s wireless technology doesn’t have current security or control standards, Drafall said.
Board member Chris Balkema voted against spending that amount of money on upgrading technology. He asked that other options be researched first.
“If we don’t do this, I get it that we will have a security risk,” Balkema said. “But I am baffled it takes three-quarters of a million dollars to fix a security issue. This gets us the best of the best and at this time we don’t need the best of the best.”
Board President Larry Larson said he is surprised the system hasn’t caused more issues.
“We have significant concerns of our network health and ability to get programs into the classroom,” said Larson. “On one hand I am surprised we haven’t had problems before, our technology is outdated and we are continuing to use it more and more. At this campus juniors and seniors are doing a lot of research. If we are going to stay educationally current (we need this).”
Board members Bruce Miller, Chris Kobe, Debra Warning and Larson voted in favor. A.J. Rossi abstained. Jim Butterbach was absent.
The board also approved spending just more than $1 million to complete projects at south campus, which were not finished during phase one of construction.
C. Thompson and Sons was awarded a bid for mass grading work in the amount of $262,084. A 34-acre area at south campus, which will eventually accommodate sports fields, will be graded and temporarily leased out to a local farmer.
The district has received complaints of non-compliance on the property due to tall weeds. Wet areas make the property difficult to mow and maintain, said Superintendent David Middleton.
A large borrow pit used during construction also needs to be filled in for safety reasons, Middleton said. The work will leave the property ready for future school use.
All board members voted in favor.
Dora Builders LLC was awarded a bid for remodeling a multipurpose room into a dance studio and creating mat storage at a cost of $100,000.
The room was left incomplete at the time of construction with the idea it would be finished when it was determined the best use for it. The school’s dance program has expanded and the room will also be used for other fitness classes, Middleton said.
Warning voted against the motion. Members Rossi, Kobe, Larson and Balkema voted in favor.
Austin Tyler Construction LLC was awarded a bid in the amount of $638,617 for paving the west parking lot and other paving work at south campus.
Existing parking is insufficient during school and sports functions and community events. The extra space will also benefit parents dropping off and picking students up from school, Middleton said.
Warning and Bulkema voted against; Rossi, Miller, Larson and Kobe voted in favor.
“I think we have sufficient parking for what we need currently with the exception of a few occurrences throughout the year,” said warning.
The projects at south campus will be paid from the balance of the construction budget. By spending the money now, the district will pay less for the work than if it were spent at a later date when prices go up, reducing the cost of phase two of the campus, Middleton said.
All the projects approved have been discussing for two or more years, Larson said.
“All the money is in the budget. It’s part of our overall district plan and is not something we have decided tonight to just go out and do.”
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