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Network center to be completed next month

COVINGTON -- A new, potentially safer network center is expected to be completed next month.

The Newton County Board of Education recently approved the construction of a Network Operations Center to be located at the Newton College & Career Academy.

The board approved a recommendation by Newton County School System Superintendent Gary Mathews for the low bid of $654,148 by Bon Building Services out of Conyers.

Bids ranged from the low bid to $801,000.

"I feel there's a need ... in order to protect the safety and data of the equipment," said Dr. Gary Shattuck, director of Technology & Media Services at NCSS.

In September, Shattuck told the board of his idea to relocate the operations center, which contains the system's servers, data storage and other equipment and is currently housed at the Newton County BOE building on Newton Drive in Covington.

Several times the data room has overheated or had problems that required the work of the system's technology department, and Shattuck fears that its current location is hazardous. He feels that the center being moved to the basement of the Academy would be a safer place for the equipment because of more room and cooler temperatures; a redesigned setup also would help the hazardous situation.

The project, which will include an air conditioned unit, will be paid for through federal technology reimbursements that NCSS is expected to receive this year, as well as about $25,000 from the capital projects account, which can only fund building and technology upgrades. The federal reimbursements also will help pay for technology improvements at several schools this year.

The operations center project is expected to be completed in September.