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Budgeting for ICN Distance Learning Classrooms


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Budgeting for ICN Distance Learning Classrooms

  1. 1. BUDGETING FOR ICN DISTANCE LEARNING CLASSROOMS Two alternative strategies can be used when budgeting for annual maintenance costs for ICN distance learning classrooms. The range between these strategies will provide a lower and upper level. If funds are available for budgeting purposes, we recommend adopting the upper level approach, as it should cover most contingencies. In most situations, the lower level approach is usually adequate unless several problem areas occur within a given year. Alternative 1 - Lower Level Approach. In this scenario, an annual budget would be established that is equal to 10% of the total cost of the distance learning classroom (equipment plus installation). At this time, due to the end of the Sony contract, there is a great deal of difference in the cost and final configuration of an ICN Classroom, with most falling around the $40,000 dollar mark, depending on accessories and equipment. Assuming and using $40,000 as the example figure, taking 10% of this figure would provide an annual maintenance budget of $4,000.00 Alternative 2 - Upper Level Approach For budgeting purposes, most electronic equipment is given a life expectancy of seven years. Taking the same standard classroom cost of $40,000.00 and dividing by its life expectancy of seven years provides an annual budget of approximately $5700.00 Budgeting Recommendation: It is our recommendation, therefore, that the annual ICN classroom budget for repairs, replacement, and maintenance of distance learning classrooms fall within the lower and upper level range based on the actual cost of your distance learning classroom. In this example, the budget range would be $4000.00 - $5700.00. Budgeting and Maintenance Tips: a.) Currently, your regional technician and the Iowa Public Television engineers are picking up much of the day-to-day labor cost. IPTV currently has four field engineers working throughout the state assisting community colleges/AEAs and their regional technicians with classroom difficulties and implementation of new classroom technologies.
  2. 2. b.) At the time of purchase, there is a one-year "carry in" warranty of the equipment. The "carry in" warranty means that the regional technician or IPTV will ship or carry the equipment to a vendor for repair. The majority of the educational ICN classrooms are now beyond the one-year warranty period. c.) Items such as cameras, camera lenses, robotics, and systems controllers are items that most likely will need to be returned to vendors for repair (even after the warranty period). These items are the least likely to be repairable in the field. d.) ICN classroom equipment has proven to be very dependable. However, you can expect routine maintenance needs such as replacing broken connectors, damaged microphones, repairing damaged table microphone wiring, and repairs to other items that receive routine day-to-day use. e.) Your annual repair budget, therefore, should include contingencies for repair costs as well as equipment replacement costs because of the range of possible maintenance requirements. f.) Sometimes it is more realistic to replace an item than to repair it. For example, an item that has received a lot of attention is the 32" TV monitor. An average picture tube will last about 4 to 10 years depending on your usage level. The cost to replace a picture tube in a set this large has proven to be more than the cost of purchasing a new replacement. Your regional technician will help you determine when it is more realistic to replace an item rather than to repair it. g.) You should also review your insurance policies with your local agent to ensure that your technology equipment is adequately covered for damage (e.g. lightning strikes, power surges, etc.). You should also make sure your insurance coverage includes the staff time it takes to rebuild and reinstall any damaged equipment. Another Important Note for those sites with Grass Valley Node Controllers: In some classrooms there will need to be a future replacement of the Classroom Control System. If your classroom was installed under Part I, Part II, or the first half of Part III, you are using a Grass Valley Node Controller. Grass Valley has chosen to discontinue manufacturing or supporting the unit. If this Classroom Control System is damaged by lightning, or for some other reason cannot be repaired, it will have to be replaced with a new and upgraded unit. Much the same as with a full classroom, the cost of an upgraded node controller is in a state of flux due to the discontinuation of the Sony contract. At this time you can expect to spend $10,000 more or less depending on configuration and accessories, if you have the older Grass Valley Node Controller in your room.
  3. 3. Identifying the Grass Valley Node Controller: In order to identify if your ICN classroom has a Grass Valley Node Controller, (or a different type of node controller) you will need to look in the equipment rack in your ICN classroom. A Grass Valley Node Controller can be identified by locating the equipment rack and looking for a large gray electronics box with the name Grass Valley Group Inc. printed on it. In most all cases it will be one of the lower most units in the equipment rack. Early installs of the Grass Valley Node Controller were mounted in the equipment rack with the rear of the unit to the front of the rack Later installs of the Grass Valley Node Controller were as above with the front of the unit turned to the front of the equipment rack. If you are unsure of whether your ICN classroom has a Grass Valley Node Controller, contact your regional technician for assistance. If you have any questions about ICN distance learning classroom, building, remodeling, equipment replacement, or maintenance issues, please call Gary McMillen, Senior Engineer at Iowa Public Television. He can be reached at 515-242-6496 or via e-mail at Revised 03/29/02 - Pictures Added 05/24/02