The Hays USD 489 school board Monday night approved the renovation of infrastructure to improve and update several systems in Hays High School.

The $129,337.77 bid from Nex-Tech will replace cables for the building’s intercom and synchronized clock systems, as well as for the phone system and security camera system for future upgrades.

The vote to approve was 6-0. Board member Luke Oborny, who works for Nex-Tech, did not take part in the vote or discussion to avoid a conflict of interest.

“In the fall, when I started this project, my intent was not to do it in-house,” said Rusty Lindsay, buildings and grounds director.

An engineer was hired to examine the phone, intercom and clock system, he said. The clock system is used not just for classroom clocks and bells signifying change of classes, but also controls HVAC, lighting and other systems.

The district maintenance staff has the capability of doing the work in-house, Lindsay said, but already has a number of projects that will keep them busy through the summer.

Those projects include stripping and rewaxing hard surfaces in the high school, installing about 435 locks throughout the district if the board approves that bid at its next meeting, and moving Early Childhood Connections to its new location at the former Oak Park Medical Complex, as well as regular cleaning and preparations at the end of summer for the next school year.

“So it’s never been in my schedule to do that and it wouldn’t be something I could take on this year,” he said.

The work is a high priority, however. Lindsay explained at a previous meeting that problems with the clock system caused failures in parts of the school’s HVAC systems, and the existing phone system is near failure. The goal is to replace it with a Voice Over Internet Protocol system, but the current phone infrastructure is outdated and will not support the upgrade. Upgrading the phone system was not budgeted for this year.

Based on estimates provided by local providers, the VOIP system would cost about $36,000 for equipment and about $1,900 a month, Lindsay said.

The upgrade would also increase the number of extensions on the phone system.

“The high school is the only building that staff doesn’t have access in every room,” Lindsay said.

Once the high school’s special system infrastructure is complete, similar upgrades at other buildings would be more likely to be completed by district staff, he said.

“The other buildings are not much further behind the high school as far as the need for phone systems, updates on the intercom systems along with the clock systems,” he said.