City BOE OKs purchasing teacher laptops, D-B transformer relocation

Rick Wagner • Mar 7, 2018 at 5:15 PM

KINGSPORT — The city school board has approved funding for purchasing more than 100 teacher laptops and for removing two electrical transformers that are more than 50 years old from the bowels of Dobyns-Bennett High School.

During its regular Tuesday meeting, the board voted 4-0 with one absent to approve those and other items on the agenda. Vice President Karen Reed-Wright was absent; President Susan Lodal and members Carrie Upshaw, Todd Golden and Eric Hyche were present. 



The teacher laptop purchase was for $124,318.88 to buy 112 Dell laptops on a Wilson County price quote that all systems in the state can use. Quotes and bids ranged from $1,109.99 to $1,304.62 per laptop and docking station, Chief Financial Officer David Frye said.

Director of Technology Scott Pierce said the other two options were $145,000 to $146,000, that the machines replaced were 5 to 6 years old and that the purchase will make the oldest teacher laptops about 3 years old.


The relocation of two transformers around which D-B was completed in 1967 will cost $357,600, with the board adding a 6 percent contingency fee of $21,456. Frye said one is in the boiler room under the Buck Van Huss Dome, and the other is beneath a room in an alley where the dumpsters are located. The only other bid was about $200,000 more.

Frye said after consulting with the city electrical inspector, AEP and the winning bidder, Kingsport Armature & Electric Co., it became clear it would be better and cheaper to replace both at once and do it this summer, even though it will leave much of the D-B building without power for three weeks in June. “Back in the ’60s, this (building around transformers) was a common practice,” Frye said. AEP will install new ones outside. Part of the expense is wiring to hook up the new AEP transformers to the building.

D-B Principal Chris Hampton said summer operations temporarily would be shifted to one of three buildings that would still have power: the ROTC building, the music building and the field house. Funding will come from $1 million in bond improvement funds and won’t require Board of Mayor and Aldermen approval, Frye said, although he said some monies will have to be moved later to cover the Johnson Elementary School roofing project.


The board also voted to approve a contract with sole bidder Michael Foods Inc. for $22,000 a year, renewable for three years, to process commodity eggs the school system receives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture; approved, pending state approval, a new honors philosophy class for grades 10-12 at D-B and a new computer-aided design class at D-B EXCEL; and approved giving up the right of first refusal on 7,100 square feet of Press Building space adjacent to D-B EXCEL.

However, Superintendent Jeff Moorhouse and Hyche said plentiful space would remain for D-B EXCEL, housed in the same building as the Administrative Support Center and Kingpsort Chamber of Commerce, if and when EXCEL needs to expand.

The board also honored retiring D-B football Coach Graham Clark for being named a finalist for the 2017 Power of Influence Award,


honored D-B seniors Karli Ailshie, John Lewis Corker and Kate Tolleson for being among 4,500 invited to apply to become a U.S. Presidential Scholar; recognized the FIRST Lego League Jackson Elementary team that came in third in statewide competition for project research and the Robinson Middle team that came in third for core values. It also got a report on the BootUp coding initiative at all city elementary schools.


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