Capital improvements to network, wireless and cabling systems will begin in late Spring following the approval of a $69.7M bond proposal in November 2017
MASON, MI – At the Mason Public Schools Board of Education meeting on Monday evening, the Board approved bids for technology infrastructure improvements with installation to begin in late Spring. The Board of Education approved contracts totaling $773,193.06. The technology contracts will be with Delta Network Services in the amount of $588,384.06 for network, wireless and UPS (uninterruptible power supply) improvements, Universal Cabling System in the amount of $48,184.00 for fiber optic cabling and Datacom Group in the amount of $136,625.00 for low voltage cabling.
Technology improvements will include replacing switch infrastructure in each building, some if which is 14 years old. Wireless Internet access will be significantly improved by increasing access points from 112 to 370. Backup batteries will be installed in each building to provide at least one hour of power to phones in case of a power outage.
In Fall 2017, the Dart Foundation and Mason Public Schools Foundation awarded Mason Public Schools $840,000 in grant dollars to purchase more than 3,200 Chromebooks for classroom use. So far, the district has purchased and distributed 1,700 Chromebooks and will be purchasing the remaining Chromebooks over Summer 2018. That will bring the current count of Chromebooks available for student use to 2,580 total.
Additionally, the district has applied for reimbursement of technology infrastructure expenses through the federal E-rate reimbursement program. This program allows eligible schools to identify needs and submit requests for competitive bids to the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). The specific reimbursement figures are not currently available, but could be 60% of the total infrastructure cost. Access to this program is not guaranteed each year due to potential federal budget constraints.
Superintendent Ronald Drzewicki said, “It is important for Mason Public Schools to continue to be good financial stewards of community resources. This opportunity for reimbursement from the federal government may not be available in the future, so it was important for us to meet all E-rate deadlines to be eligible for rebates.”
Specific details regarding the improvements to district technology infrastructure are available on the Mason Public Schools website.