"One goal was cost containment," Seburn said. "We needed additional services, and we couldn't afford to add them on under the old system. The cost was just going out of the roof."
The Wide Area Network also will replace 89 dedicated telephone lines that link schools to the mainframe computer and allow their heating and air conditioning systems to be controlled from the central office, she said.
Each dedicated telephone line costs the school system about $22 per month, said Dave Mundey, energy management/communication specialist.
The new network will require only one technologically advanced T-1 line - which speeds up Internet access by at least double - at each school, he said.
The plan is to have all schools' phone systems and at least one computer at each school hooked up to the network by March 1, Mundey said.
Bell Atlantic will install the T-1 lines on its own schedule, with Bester Elementary School and South Hagerstown High School expected to be the first schools brought on to the network this month, he said.
As schools are linked to the network, their telephone numbers will change as well, Mundey said.
Schools like Smithsburg High School, which has its computers linked in-house through a Local Area Network, will instantly gain Internet access on all its computers, he said.
The ultimate goal is to have Local Area Networks at all 44 schools, said Seburn, who said state grant money will be used to set up Local Area Networks at seven more county schools this year.
While $1 million sounds like a lot of money, it will be spread out over three years and includes equipment, installation, network management and training, Seburn said.
New phone numbers for some frequently called Central Office locations are:
- Main switchboard: 766-2800
- Superintendent: 766-2815
- Assistant superintendent for administrative services: 766-2818
- Assistant superintendent for instruction: 766-2821
- Director of elementary education: 766-2915
- Director of secondary education: 766-2918
- Food Services: 766-2890
- Transportation: 766-2901
- Student Services: 766-2960
- Public Information: 766-2809