CBC hires Sonacom for IT system, considers laptops for all students

Originally published March 8-14, 2002 in the St. Louis Business Journal

Christian Brothers College High School has hired Sonacom to help design technology systems for its new school.

CBC is considering an entirely wireless environment at its new campus in Town & Country that would include laptops for every student. The school would set up a finance plan to allow students to pay for their laptops over a four-year period so they own the machines by the time they graduate, said John Hutchison, CBC’s director of finance.

Sonacom is working with CBC’s architect, Mackey Mitchell Associates, on the school’s planned $35 million campus near Highway 40 and Interstate 270. The company is providing input during the design phase.
“It’s nice to be in on the front end,” said Mike Tippit, resource manager for Sonacom. “A lot of times IT and video are kind of an afterthought and it ends up costing the company more money.”

How much CBC pays Sonacom depends on the scope of the work, which still is being determined. Sonacom is consulting, designing and creating system specifications for infrastructure; cabling for voice, data and video; wireless networking options for a local area network; audio-visual for each classroom; telephone options; and recommendations for either PCs or Macintosh systems.
Meanwhile, the school has made several changes to its plans to satisfy area residents, Hutchison said. Those changes, which add nearly $1 million to the cost of the new school, include repositioning; lowering the elevation of the athletic field and using retractable lighting; and working on surrounding roads to alleviate some of the traffic problems.

“It increased the cost, but we plan on being there for a long time, so we didn’t mind adapting the site to make it more acceptable to our surrounding neighbors,” Hutchison said.

Tuition at CBC, which has an enrolment of 956 students in 7th through 12th grades, is $6,300 a year.

Plans for the new school have been approved by the Town & Country Planning and Zoning Commission. The Board of Aldermen is expected to vote on the plans in early April, and CBC plans to break ground on the school in late April or early May.

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