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Creating a State-of-the-Art Data Center in 19th Century Building

Tradition and Innovation in Education

For this Midwestern university, founded in the early 1900s, the challenge posed by its 21st century technological needs was significant. Even as traditional post-secondary education is offered at its main campus, university leaders recognized the emerging role of online classes and chose to incorporate them into the curriculum. To do so effectively, the university required both a networking backbone and leading infrastructure to support it without interruption. The challenge? Retrofitting leading technology into an eight-story, brick building originally constructed in the 1800s, complete with poured concrete floors, cast-iron steam piping and cloth-wrapped tin wiring designed to fuel gas lamps!

As MicroAge’s Barrett Lamothe observes, “Our first step was to ensure safety and prevent the potential for fire… rewiring the entire building was essential as was coring the concrete to ensure we could run new conduit and cabling.” Within a week of receiving the first call from the university’s IT manager, Barrett researched and interviewed local electrical contractors capable of updating the site. He then presented these options to the client, who was astounded that MicroAge, which he had contacted for an IT infrastructure solution only, had proactively located a contractor on his behalf. This out-of-the-box approach is a unique differentiator for MicroAge, and ultimately generated high levels of client confidence in its solutions.

Once the construction phase was completed, Barrett worked with the IT manager to develop a networking and infrastructure solution to best meet the university’s needs. Serving as the project manager Barrett orchestrated the delivery and implementation of the entire networking infrastructure retrofit solution. The solution included several racks of Cisco switches, APC racking systems and cabling services. Barrett’s close supervision of the project allowed his client counterpart to more fully focus on his department’s objectives, and as he commented, “…saved him two to three weeks’ of work.”

Today, the university’s online program is thriving and meeting more student learning needs than ever before. Secure from both network infrastructure and actual site perspectives, the online education program is thriving and meeting ever-expanding student learning goals. For this client, the old adage, ‘Everything old is new again,’ rings true as its 19th century facility fosters 21st century education options.

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Barrett Lamothe
23 Years Experience
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