Opp schools to get $423K upgrade

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 24, 2017

In a long-awaited and needed measure, the Opp Board of Education this week awarded a $423,583 bid for technology infrastructure.

InCare-K12 had the low bid.

“The amount covers an upgrade and replacement of all internal connections and cabling for the entire network,” said Opp City Schools Superintendent Michael Smithart. “All switches, wiring, wireless hardware, configuration and installation are included.”

Smithart said the system has received confirmation of an E-Rate reimbursement in the amount of $155,508.04.

“The funds will be sent to the district following completion of the project,” he said.

The project is being paid for from proceeds from the school system’s bond refinance and the Alabama Ahead Act.

Last year, the network upgrade was among the projects that Smithart argued that were much needed within the school system during a battle for bond proceeds between the city board of education and the Opp City Council, which began last January and was finally resolved in April.

Smithart had stated the system needed to upgrade Channell-Lee Stadium, their HVAC system and the network.

“We also need to upgrade our network,” he said at the time. “Our students deserve access to the latest technology, and we are bound by our current capacity. We need greater bandwidth to our schools in order to meet their needs.”

After three months of negotiations, Smithart and then-Mayor John Bartholomew reached an agreement that the two entities would split the proceeds from the bond refinance.

The school system pledged $50,000 to repairs at Channell-Lee Stadium.

The rest of the money was to go to the network infrastructure upgrade.