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Southmoreland to buy climate-control system

| Friday, Sept. 2, 2005

The Southmoreland School District board of directors agreed on Thursday to purchase a new computer system to control the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems in all of its school buildings.

The board acted on a proposal from Earl Cramer, maintenance supervisor, and John Puskar, technology coordinator, to buy the $43,000 system from O.Z. Enterprises Inc., of Pittsburgh.

Puskar and Cramer told the board that the current computer system dates to the 1980s and that the dedicated wires connecting the buildings to a central computer have been struck by lightning several times in recent years.

This year alone, the district has spent $8,000 to replace parts damaged by lightning, Puskar said.

"It's been a bear," Cramer said.

Even now, Cramer said, the system isn't fully operational, meaning that he can't control the temperature in every part of every building from his office computer. So, he said, if adjustments are required, he has to physically go to the building.

Lightning shouldn't be a problem with the new system, they said, because the buildings would be linked to his computer via the district's fiber optic network. Fiber optic cable is made of glass and is not susceptible to lightning strikes.

The cost of the new system includes hardware, software and installation.

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