The Bangor School Board discussed ongoing upgrades to the district’s network, security and surveillance systems during the monthly Bangor School Board meeting Wednesday, Sept. 20.
This year the district will begin making improvements to the school’s security and surveillance systems starting with an upgrade to the elementary’s doors.
Technology advisor John Magnuson said they plan to use the same secure entry door system supplied by Ban-Koe in use at the middle-high school.
The key-card system would allow faculty to access the building after hours, and keep a log of who accessed the building when.
In addition to upgrading door security, the district will begin to replace its outdated analog security cameras.
The district utilizes roughly 50 cameras, of which, half are analog and need to be replaced.
“We are replacing seven per year,” Magnuson said.
Additional cameras will be installed at this time to improve visibility around campus. The district is also considering a speaker system for the bathrooms and storage areas.
“You can’t hear anything for announcements,” Rick Muellenberg said. “The problem is during announcements for a lockdown or an intruder, you can’t hear anything.”
Magnuson and Muellenberg also touched on the district’s computer lab.
The district’s five-year technology plan had called for the purchase of 27 iMac computers. Instead, the district may now purchase more than 50 Google Chromebooks.
Muellenberg said the portability and the lower cost of the Chromebooks made them an attractive choice over the more expensive and seldom used iMacs.
These improvements are part of the district’s five-year technology plan, which was developed by Magnuson and Muellenberg and approved by the school board last year.
Last school year, the district focused on improving its network infrastructure upgrading the faculty computers and providing students with new iPads.
“We had quite a few staff computers that we replaced; that went well,” Magnuson said.
The upgrades were spurred by the availability of high-speed gigabit internet from the district’s provider WisNet.
“WisNet will be improving from 100 megabits to one gigabit,” he said.
However, to take advantage of the tenfold increase in internet speeds, the district had to make significant improvement’s wiring and wireless access points and will need to replace the district’s router.
“The current router we have now couldn’t take a gigabit,” Magnuson said.
All 52 of the district’s wireless access points were upgraded to make use of the higher speed internet service provided by WisNet.
Magnuson said the district would need to update the schools’ wired network, but the shift to wireless has made this less important than originally thought.
Muellenberg said WisNet’s increased speeds and the upgrades to their infrastructure, should help alleviate some of the problems associated with online testing.
Next year the district may begin looking at connecting the old high school building to the district’s network.
Magnuson reminded the board the plan isn’t set in stone and is instead to ensure the district is prepared for the future.