By Julie Wiessner
The Navajo County Community College District Governing Board discussed and approved three big technology purchases Tuesday, including $91,596.40 for eight Hewlett Packard computer servers, $76,975 for 100 each of two different models of Dell/Wyse Thin Client Devices and $54,381.35 for 365 19-inch monitors to use with the thin-client devices, for a total of $222,952.75.
All three purchases were made possible through Project Equitable Access to Gainful Learning Experiences (EAGLE), funded by a U.S. Department of Education grant under Title III Native Americans Serving Nontribal Institutions (NASNTI) program grant.
EAGLE provides Northland Pioneer College with nearly $2 million over a five-year period to purchase technology related infrastructure.
The college is in year three of the program grant, but if the grant money is not used by the end of the month, it will roll over into year four of the program grant money.
From a survey taken in 2011, students had a greater dependency on computer labs at NPC than on their own technology devices. However, survey results from June 2013 showed students having a greater need to connect their own laptops and mobile devices to the NPC network.
NPC Director of Information Services Eric Bishop advised the board that students have been bringing three or four Internet-capable devices to campus, each with its own unique address. NPC has had to adjust its wireless network capacity to handle the increased load.
During the June board meeting, Bishop said, “By 2020, industry forecasters are predicting a 50 times (5000 percent) increase in Internet and wireless traffic, so we are adjusting to keep up with demand.”
Bishop estimates that roughly around $70,000 to $90,000 will be left over from year three of the grant and will carry forward into year four monies.
He also noted that there is around $800,000 to $900,000 left in the total program.
The board heard a request from Director for Instructional Effectiveness Leslie Wasson to implement a four-person ad hoc Institutional Review Board (IRB) at NPC.
Wasson explained the need for an IRB, stating, “A lot of grants have a research requirement. NPC wants to assure that the ethics of a research project are covered. How that is done is through an IRB evaluation of the project.”
NPC has never had an IRB before, since it is a two-year college and mainly focuses on teaching. When asked if she thinks research projects will increase now that there is an IRB in place, Wasson replied, “I don’t expect it to increase, however, we are prepared to meet on the occasion that research occurs. It is just one of those things that it is better to have in place.”
Four faculty members have already been asked and agreed to meet and review research proposals if a need arises. They include one from the arts and science department, one from the nursing staff and two others who have background in extensive research.
The board also received a review of the Northeast Arizona Training Center (NATC) audit from Vice President for Administrative Services Blaine Hatch.
Hatch noted that staff was very pleased with the report conducted by Nordstrom and Associates, P.C. of Flagstaff. According to the report, as of June 30, all financial statements were in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the U.S., and NATC is viewed as a component unit of NPC.
In other action Sept. 17, the board:
* Approved intergovernmental agreements with the Whiteriver, Snowflake and Round Valley unified school districts for dual enrollment classes in math, business, Spanish, English, Early Childhood Development, construction and art.
* Approved the purchase of a mobile fire-training unit from Fire Vent for a total price of $55,038.74.
The hands-on mobile firefighter training applications of the equipment include a variable rooftop (flat to 45 degrees), vertical and gable end ventilation options, multiple forcible entry possibilities, confined space entry, rescue through the floor/basement/ceiling/second story windows/ladders, firefighter bailout and many other possibilities.
Because this equipment is mobile, it can be moved to different locations if training is needed elsewhere.
* Approved the purchase of four new 2014 Dodge Caravan SE vehicles from Larry Miller Dodge in Avondale for $91,420.88.
The 2013 model was $24,490 per vehicle before tax and delivery, while the 2014 models were $22,855.22 per vehicle, including tax and delivery. Besides saving NPC $6,539.12 over last year’s prices, this will allow for one additional minivan to each campus location for more efficient use of the existing fleet.
The next meeting of the Navajo County Community College District Governing Board is scheduled at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 15.
By Julie Wiessner