21:17 PM

School District Aces Student Safety, Saves Money With Upgraded Communications Technology

Adams 12 Five Star Schools, which serves the suburban area immediately north of Denver, scored an A+ last year with feature-rich communications technology from Mitel that enhanced student safety, cut energy costs, and improved efficiency and reliability districtwide.

Ash Mahajan, Chief Information and Technology Officer for the district, said his team had been forced to scavenge parts from systems taken down by other organizations to keep their two-decades-old legacy system running.

“We were suffering significant downtime and failures from this old system,” Mahajan said, “and facing vulnerability not only in the area of customer service, but also in the area of public safety, which is crucial in today's K-12 environment.”

The district knew it was time to upgrade its communications technology, but wanted help streamlining the process of finding and securing the best solutions for the best prices. To accomplish this, the district turned to Sourcewell, a cooperative purchasing entity that partners with education, government, and nonprofit organizations to boost student and community success.

“Besides the assurance offered to us by a strong RFP process, the Sourcewell contract gave us an additional check and balance on the initial system pricing and any add-ons that we might have interest in purchasing later,” Mahajan said.

Sourcewell partnered with Vertical, an organization that delivers best-of-breed communications solutions across the country, to provide the district with the right Mitel technology and ensure everything went smoothly.

Mahajan said the district deployed upgraded technology at 55 locations, and a key feature is the robust mass notification system that provides faster, more effective communication in an emergency. Other measures to boost student safety include deploying phones with panic buttons and an integrated carrier-based solution that helps school officials and first responders determine the specific location of an emergency.

To decrease energy consumption and space occupied by their previous system, Mahajan and his team deployed a virtualized call control solution, saving money for the district — and the taxpayers. Additionally, employees are now able to communicate more efficiently with advanced voicemail and call-recording features, and the district experienced increased system reliability with the deployment of secondary call control from a secondary data center.

“While we have worked extremely hard and have brought on multiple staff and contractors on our end to help facilitate this work, Vertical and Mitel have proved to be great team players and have helped us implement a solution that has a lot of promise,” Mahajan said.

Mahajan said the money Sourcewell helped the district save on new communications technology has allowed them to do more with cabling mitigation, site prep, and cable runs at the right locations. On top of that, safety has improved, and system downtime has plummeted.

Most importantly, Adams 12 Five Star Schools is now better positioned to fulfill its mission of engaging and inspiring all students to innovate, achieve, and succeed in a safe environment.

Schools and other public entities are relying more and more on cooperative purchasing agreements to secure the right products and equipment while saving money.

Learn more about Sourcewell and Mitel at sourcewell-mn.gov.


About Sourcewell

Sourcewell (formerly National Joint Powers Alliance) is a self-supporting government organization, partnering with education, government, and nonprofits to boost student and community success. Created in 1978 as one of Minnesota’s nine service cooperatives, we offer training and shared services to our central-Minnesota members. Throughout North America, we offer a cooperative purchasing program with over 300 awarded vendors on contract. Sourcewell is driven by service and the ability to strategically reinvest in member communities.