By L. Parsons
Labor costs to install network towers for Northland Pioneer College were approved by the Navajo County Community College District Governing Board during a special meeting held July 28.
The towers will serve as communications boosters on 11 sites throughout the NPC system. Chief Information Officer PJ Way explained, “This request is part of the replacement and upgrade to our existing tower system and tower structure, including new equipment configuration and installation.”
According to Way, the project will begin as early as Aug. 16 and is slated to be complete in November.
“This solution provides a redundant and more stable network system than we have in aging equipment,” Way added.
Johnston Technical Services (JTS), based in Dallas, Texas, was awarded the equipment and installation contracts for the project. The equipment purchase was approved as part of last year’s budget cycle, with the caveat that the second phase, the installation, would also be awarded to JTS after a July 1 fiscal year start.
Board Member James Matteson showed concern, questioning Way on the thoroughness of his sourcing to find the most cost effective company to do the job.
“How many other firms did you query about bidding installation?” Matteson asked.
Way responded, “When we looked at the installation, there are two firms within the continental United States that provide the services which we were seeking and the other party was significantly overpriced.”
Matteson replied, “I got on the Internet when I saw this and I said, how many firms are there in Arizona that install network towers? There are two in Phoenix.”
Way replied that those firms do not provide the services for the hardware. “They simply provide installation and are not familiar with the equipment that we’ve purchased; finding a provider that services specifically the equipment we are requiring is very limited,” he said.
Matteson continued the questioning, as he was still not clear on whether the project had been properly bid. “When we bid out the equipment, why didn’t you bid out equipment and installation?”
Way explained, “We did, that’s exactly what we did. JTS is the one that provided us the equipment.”
The final issue Matteson had was why the special meeting was needed if the expenditure had already been approved.
Way answered, “while it’s the same company providing equipment and installation, the expenditures are separate under two budget years. It was explained in February that there would be a second phase, being installation costs.”
Matteson then moved to approve the $335,384 contract for labor, including all taxes.
The next item to be approved was the $59,114 labor contract on the White Mountain Apache Reservation, as the permitting and taxes are different on sovereign land.
To close the meeting, a request for the purchase of information technology security software was approved. This service will provide security for student and faculty data, employment records and student records, among other basic Internet security items. The five-year licensing agreement for the software will cost NPC $295,685.
The next meeting of the board will take place at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 15, at the Tiponi Community Center, 2251 E. Navajo Blvd. in Holbrook.