Fiber Optic Network
A scalable system to provide voice and data connectivity between buildings was needed to replace the antiquated telephony solution installed 10 years earlier. Any expansion to the system required major infrastructure upgrades. All staff and students would be affected by the upgrade to this system, it was essential that school activities not be disrupted. Both fiber optic and wireless point to point solutions were evaluated as responses to the Request for Proposal (RFP). The local cable provider was selected since it was necessary to construct only the last mile connections the new system could be completed in four months with little disruption to the educational process. The system has been extremely reliable, flexible and scalable and has allowed the District to provide many centralized services reducing costs to schools and programs.
Enterprise Resource Planning Implementation
The District’s mainframe financial system was reaching end of life and would require either a major upgrade or replacement. The desired functionality of the new system was to modernize current processes and consolidate the payroll, HR and financial systems into one Enterprise Resource Planning package. The scope of the project was increased when time recording requirements were added to the project. This project affected all of the business units of the District and the added time keeping requirements would impact all hourly employees. Every purchasing, HR, payroll and accounting process would be changed and provide huge accuracy and time saving benefits. Members from every operating unit were added to the selection and implementation team. Information Systems and Business Services would share the lead project management roles. Over the initial nine months a RFP was created, responses were evaluated a system was selected, a budget was created and the Board of Education approved $2.2 million for the project. As expected many new processes were created changing the way many people performed their job functions. The business services and purchasing portion of the project was completed after ten months, HR went live four months later, and payroll eight months after testing during the summer. Staff continues to find new and more efficient ways to conduct their business and the system meets the current and long range needs of the District.
Computer Room Redesign
The computer room was designed for a mainframe computer installation, with tape backups and pin feed printers. As the mainframe was replaced with MS windows servers ventilation became an issue of concern. A single air return was available near the ceiling with multiple ceiling mounted cold air supply ducts to provide conditioned air. The Information Services department was the primary caretaker of the computer room. Expansion was becoming a problem and a loss of cooling air could bring the entire system down. A “hot aisle” design provided the capacity to increase cooling efficiency, improve wire management, provide for expansion, and reorganize computer locations. By purchasing individual Dell computer racks and adding Plexiglas to enclose the aisle the cost was minimized. Much of the design and computer placement was completed using internal staff further reducing costs. The new system provides for a 30 percent server expansion, cooling redundancy, and sensible network design.
VoIP Phone Upgrade
Thirty school based Nortel PBX phone systems communicate through a single PBX to provide a voice network. Software on these systems had reached end of life and through a RFP and then a Request for Bid process a new VoIP upgrade was installed that provides additional features and a reliable phone system. A phone installation contractor was selected over several traditional phone company providers and proved to be an excellent partner for the project. This project modernizes the phone system and provides for voice communication expansion. The only loss of service was over a weekend and so well publicized to all staff members that no complaints were received. The last phase of the project will be completed in summer 2010.