Barbour board looks at new phone system

PHILIPPI — The Barbour County Board of Education are considering the implementation of a new phone system in the county school system.

West Side Telecommunications representatives Georgette Adams and Anthony Maholic spoke before the BOE this week, proposing that the school system’s current phones be replaced with a new updated system and software.

The company, based out of Morgantown, conducted a needs assessment on the current phone system. Maholic stated in the report there are old wiring and faulty wiring issues within the system, leading to spotty or problematic service.

Maholic also said some of the phones are outdated phones and obsolete, making it hard to find parts for them. Some of these phones lack necessary features like caller ID or voicemail.

“The problems that we found with the systems in the school is the reliability side and the security side,” Maholic stated.

Adams noted some of the phones at the schools are 14 to 15 years old.

The school system’s student support services official, Mike Ferguson, said he favored hiring West Side Telecommunications after a thorough evaluation of the company and its offerings.

Ferguson said the school system needs a new and safer phone system that links all the schools.

“To me it’s more of a safety issue and it’s a quicker line of communication to us here at the board office and the other schools.” Ferguson stated, “Making sure that we have a very good phone system in all of our schools so if the phones would go out, because they’re so old. We want to upgrade before this happens.”

The proposed system by West Side Telecommunications would include features like recording phone calls and sending the recording as a voicemail or a message, mobile messaging to email, the ability to have 16 people at one time on a call and personal help training.

The system would also include a 911 safety feature. If anyone in the system dials 911, the system will automatically contact a designated person or people of choice, notifying them of the call.

Adams and Maholic said the complete system installation would take three to four weeks maximum, depending on the removal of the current system.

Maholic said the new system would provide “continuity and reliability. At best right now the phones are erratic in some of these schools, which comes down to, what if there’s an emergency situation.”

Maholic added, “In a few of these schools there’s not even cell phone service.”

West Side Telecommunications implemented the current system in use at the Barbour Board of Education office, which is reported to be running smoothly and efficiently.

The BOE decided to read through the contract and the costs, and will place the item on the next meeting’s agenda in the form of a contact for final approval.