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New data center approved for BUSD

The $572,920 project will power the expansion of technology at schools.

September 07, 2013|By Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com | By Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com

Exactly six months after Burbank voters approved Measure S, which called for issuance of a $110-million bond, the Burbank Unified school board on Thursday approved construction of a new data center to better handle Burbank schools' expanding use of technology.

The estimated $572,920 cost of the data center will be paid for with Measure S funds. The new center will be roughly double the size of the current center, which measures 180 square feet, and it will provide the foundation for the technological capacity the district aims to build.

"This gives us the backbone to start working from as we reach out to the other sites," said Craig Bell, director of facilities for Burbank Unified.

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Construction of the center, which will hold the district's core networking equipment and computer servers, will likely begin by next summer, laying the groundwork for the district to steadily expand use of technology at its 20 schools over the next several years.

When completed, the new data center will be 10 times more powerful than the current room, said Charles Poovakan, director of information technology for the district.

The current data center, which uses air conditioners to keep four racks of network and computer server equipment cool, is far less efficient than what officials are planning in the new center, where fresh, outside air will cool eight racks of network and server equipment.

When Burbank school officials presented an overall plan for Measure S spending last April, they estimated spending $10 million to implement more technology in schools over the next few years.

While more than half of Burbank's schools provide pockets of Internet connectivity, less than half of the them offer high-speed, wireless Internet. Officials plan to provide that in all schools by 2017.

The new center will be designed by the Burbank-based Adolph Ziemba AIA & Associates, Inc., and constructed inside the district's service center, a warehouse located at the end of a cul-de-sac on South Shelton Street, near Alameda Avenue.

The initial estimated cost to build the center was $572,920 but the school board on Thursday agreed to pump in about $175,000 more to upgrade the work stations in the technology department once the new center is built.

"I'd rather spend more money now, but do it once, not go back and do it twice," said school board member Larry Applebaum.

Included in the cost of the new center is a $120,000 generator to keep the district's phones and email system running in case buildings throughout the district lose power.

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Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.

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