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New BHS to be high tech

On Monday, more than 840 computers, including all their hardware such as keyboards and monitors, were being installed in the new Bainbridge High School.

It will take a crew of about a dozen technicians from Mirco Technology Consultants of Warner Robins, Ga., until the end of the week to complete the installation, and then all next week to finish programming all the computers.

And all those 160-gigabyte Acer computers are just the beginning of how the new school is stepping up to be more high-tech, said Steve Dunn, the director of technology with the Decatur County Board of Education.

Dunn said the school is impressive, but when people drive by, those in the school system don’t want them to just acknowledge it as an impressive campus.

“We want them to drive by and say what an excellent learning environment it is,” Dunn said. “We want to give it the look and feel of higher learning. … This school is about academics.”

The new high school also has 120 TVs and enough fiber optic cables and other cabling that if it was stretched out from end to end, the cables would be 90 miles long, Dunn said. The school has 14 data closets, which house all the fiber optic cabling and computer servers.

The media center is getting 38 computers, the business technology lab is getting 32 and the scenario goes on and on. Workers were checking lists of how many computers go into which classroom Monday. There are computers in every wing of the new high school, and a TV in most all the classrooms, Dunn said.

Dunn, a 15-year veteran of the classroom, said today’s high school graduates are competing for jobs worldwide now, and computers, the TVs and the other high-tech systems being installed in the new high school are vehicles to allow for the students to go to the next level.

Eighty-four percent, or $1,428,000, of the $1.7 million invested in the cabling, computer servers and telephone switches are paid for by a federal grant, which money originates from telephone user fees that are tacked onto each telephone and cell phone user’s bill. Known on a customer’s bill as a Universal Service fee, the E-rate program helps rural communities and school districts upgrade their infrastructure for more advanced telecommunications.

All the computers and TVs in the school are being paid for by ESPLOST money, and not the E-rate funds, Dunn said.