Brighton Area School Board members unanimously voted to approve the first bid package for the technology portion of the $88.4 million bond issue voters passed in May for wired network infrastructure, a wireless network and a new phone system.
The bid package was about $3 million, according to Superintendent Greg Gray.
"In order to plug in all of our new devices, you have to have the infrastructure to support it and we presently don't have the infrastructure to support it, but the $3 million approved tonight will put us on the cutting edge of technology now and into the future," he said.
The district received 11 different bids for the three categories. Delta Network Services was awarded the bids for network infrastructure and phone system.
"They were the low bidder for network infrastructure, and that made it appealing for us to look at them against all three categories so we could have that one integrator working on all three categories," Paul Twigg of Barton Malow said. "When we looked at the wireless infrastructure, however, the solution they were proposing is a great system, and provides a lot of features, but as Elson (Elson Liu - BAS technology director) looked at the administration of it, it was very burdensome. So he wanted to go with a different wireless system."
Amerinet was awarded the bid for the wireless network.
Twigg said both companies support the same manufacturers and the same solutions and they are very familiar with the type of equipment the other company will be providing.
The work will be completed along with the data cabling work and equipment installations throughout 2013 and 2014.
Trustees John Conely and Miles Vieau expressed concerns about the infrastructure working together when it was coming from two different integrators and different manufacturers.
Twigg said Fraser, Warren Consolidated and Howell Schools were some examples of districts with he same infrastructure Brighton schools were looking at Monday night.
Liu said because of the very competitive bidding, Brighton was well ahead of its target in original estimated costs.
Board members will approve technology equipment bids in January.
"Things like laptops, tablets, chromebooks - the instructional pieces that will tie in with the infrastructure that they passed tonight," Gray said.