Schools look to improve infrastructure

Published 12:38 am Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Andalusia Board of Education Monday authorized its superintendent to seek bids for improving the information technology infrastructure of the system.

Superintendent Ted Watson explained that the Alabama Supercomputer Authority has increased the “pipe” that brings access to the system, but the system’s actual cable, wiring and infrastructure comes in to the new part of the high school, flows into the old building, and does a complete bottleneck there before traveling to the middle school and elementary school.

Watson said preliminary estimates show upgrading the infrastructure would cost $176,000 to $216,000.

“Really, we are paralyzed by virtue of our own system,” Watson said. “We can’t really do any serious planning for the world of technology, I would like to if possible, move forward on this.”

Watson said he believes he can find private funding for half of the project, and thinks the improvements are so necessary that the system should tap into its reserves if needed to move forward.

At present, the infrastructure is not strong enough to support computer testing for standardized testing or end-of-course testing, nor could the system move forward with electronic textbooks or “bring your own device” systems.

“We can’t move, really, without fixing this problem,” Watson said. “We can’t dream, we can’t think where we’re going to go.”

Watson said the two new buildings under construction on the campuses of AHS and AES have the potential to be state of the art the day they open. But without technology infrastructure upgrades, they won’t be.

“I think it’s the thing to do for the future of the system and our kids, not just some whim I’ve gone off on,” he said.