During the July Dodge City Community College board of trustees meeting, the trustees approved an upgrade to the college's telephone system with $105,000 from the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas funds.


The SPARK funds were an approved proposal through Gov. Laura Kelly to distribute $400 million to local governments to help address health and economic challenges due to COVID-19.


According to the trustees, the funding needed to be approved by August in order to use the funding.


According to DCCC chief financial officer Glendon Forgey, the college's current phone system was outdated.


"When receiving calls to my office, I can hardly hear the person on the other line," Forgey said.


The approval to obtain a new phone system was unanimous with a 6-0 vote, trustee Kelly Henrichs was absent from the meeting and did not vote.


Trustees also approved the purchase of electronic textbooks for students.


"We have the opportunity to provide a very beneficial service to the students that will save them a lot of money," Forgey said. "The Cengage Software will provide unlimited use of textbooks to our students."


Cengage put the quote to the college for $144,000, according to Forgey, and will be included in the SPARK funds due to its use for distance learning and not force students the need to come to the campus.


"At least for this first year," Forgey said. "We then will evaluate it in future years. It's something we're very excited about and something we can market about in the future."


The trustees approved the electronic textbooks with a 6-0 vote.


Keeping with tech, the trustees approved an upgrade to the college's Wi-Fi hardware.


The bid from Network Computer Solutions will replace 111 wireless access points and will also install outdoor Wi-Fi for $81,426.76.


For laptop replacements, a bid from Twotrees Technologies for $205,200, which had 100 laptops and 200 Chromebooks to be purchased was approved.


According to DCCC, the laptop replacement was hindered due to COVID-19 to which vendors they could access that had laptops in stock in order to be shipped in a timely manner and programmed to fit the needs of DCCC students in time for classes.


The laptops were approved with a 6-0 vote.


To contact the writer, email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com.