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D-54 needs upgrades to handle tech program

MORRIS – Ted Lemmy with Unified Concepts said his firm discovered issues during an audit of Morris Elementary School District 54’s technological capabilities.

“The biggest issue is the Wi-Fi,” Lemmy said.

Lemmy presented Morris Elementary School District 54 with the firm’s findings at the board’s Committee of the Whole meeting Wednesday night.

With the way the building’s infrastructure is designed, there will be difficulty implementing the 1:1 Technology starting this year with students in third, fourth and fifth grades. With the technology program, each student is getting a Chromebook to use during their school day and at home.

“The equipment that is in place is for a low to medium density access, although it’s laid out in a high density layout,” Lemmy told the committee. “It’s not made to handle the number of devices you will have.”

Superintendent Teri Shaw said the district will need to invest more money in infrastructure.

Lemmy said if you go back five years and could provide network coverage for the devices you had, you were good. But technology has changed and many more devices are trying to access Wi-Fi now.

He spoke with Cisco Systems, and they would loan three parts of the infrastructure for one of the upstairs hallways, so the district could see the difference first-hand.

He advised adding a new controller, which ranges in price from $6,322 to $12,935, depending on the number of licenses, as well as adding high density access points and switches so the school can utilize the devices it’s already purchased.

Board President Scot Hastings asked how long it would take to switch out the hardware and get the building up and running. Lemmy said not long because they would not be running new wires.

Lemmy also told the committee they should consider upgrading the district’s internet provider from a residential grade broadband to a fiber optic business line to handle the amount of traffic it will see.

Unified Concepts also offers Information Technology services and put together packages for the board to consider instead of filling the current open IT position.

The company would provide someone on site at the schools two or three days a week, in addition to providing an entire tech team to offer web-based help, a help desk, and education for teachers who want to learn more about technology, including adding video to their teaching.

“In the end, we come in, go through what is going on and are able to cut from your IT cost more than what our fee is,” Lemmy said. “The cost is about the same as one person, but you get a whole team.”

The district’s committee of the whole does not vote on matters presented. Any formal decisions need to be made by the full school board at a regular scheduled meeting.

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