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NCSS unveils new technology operations center
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Technology servers for the Newton County School System are now stored in a cooler and safer place.

The NCSS technology department held an open house Thursday for its new Network Operations Center, which officials said includes a state-of-the-art data room for the district’s technology needs.

Gary Shattuck, NCSS director of technology and media services, said the new data center, located in the basement of the Newton College & Career Academy, opened in August, but offices and the finishing touches on equipment were completed in December.

Shattuck said in 2009, he and officials with the technology department saw blueprints for the Newton College and Career Academy, which showed a perfect space where the district could place its Network Operations Center. At the time, Shattuck said, equipment for network operations was in a room at the Newton County Board of Education.

"We had a lot of problems because the room was too small and we couldn’t keep it cool enough, so we designed this in order to have a cooling facility necessary to keep the equipment cool," Shattuck said.

"In the blueprints for the basement, the original plans called for only using one third of the area that would be the basement. So I asked that the whole area be completed and that we be given a portion of it so that we could have a Network Operations Center," he said.

Shattuck said the Network Operations Center now includes secure doors, several offices, and a cooling room for server racks.

Shattuck said he and four other network technicians have access and will work out of the space.

"Everything runs out of this room. So it’s all the servers, all the computers, all the printers and all that have to come through the data center," Shattuck said.

"All the technology and equipment in the county is funneled through the data center. … East Newton, computers at Mansfield, or computers at Rocky Plains, come through here to get on the Internet."

Shattuck said the estimated cost for the construction of the new space and equipment was $700,000. He said the Board of Education approved the center in June 2012.

Shattuck said funds for the project came from a reimbursement of funds from Erate, a federal government program that funds technology services for schools. The board agreed to use that money to build the space.

Construction on the new space finished late summer o f 2013, and equipment was moved in shortly after. Shattuck said the center includes an additional room for technology growth in the future and that the center is just what the technology department needed.

"This is the most secure spot in the school system. It’s underground, so we’re not worried about tornadoes or anything; I’m not worried about severe weather causing disruption. It’s a very secure spot because it’s in the basement and it’s totally locked up, and there are very few students in this building," Shattuck said. "It’s exactly what I was looking for when I saw the blueprints...''