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Ringing in 2010

Sequim School District is upgrading its phone system following a malfunction last summer that left lines dead.

The school board approved a $60,850 contract with Baron Communications to change the 15-year-old system while school is out for the winter break. The district had estimated the project at $70,000, so $9,150 was saved with the lower bid.

Phone lines will be down through Dec. 21-30, but options are being considered for temporarily replacing them.

The school’s e-mail ability and Web page, www.sequimschools.wednet.edu, will remain in operation.

Administrators at the district office, 503 N. Sequim Ave., will work from 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. through the break.

Financials
Brian Lewis, the schools’ business manager, said the district took bids on the project two years ago but decided not to go forward with it due to cost.

This summer’s incident made it more emergent, he said.

A funding request to the Schools and Libraries Access Commission was denied because the school’s T-1 phone circuit was too outdated. The newer circuit will save the district an average of $6,000 a year in phone bills, Lewis said. Monies for the new system will come from the schools’ general fund.

Baron will connect the phone systems at Greywolf Elementary, the bus barn and the rest of the schools’ campuses that currently operate separately. The district will save thousands of dollars by no longer needing a separate 9-1-1 service, which will be tied into the new circuit.

Classroom phones will not be replaced because the upgrades are to the center circuitry.

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