NORMAN — Technology in Norman classrooms will be upgraded through a $7.9 million contract with Panasonic. The Norman School Board approved the "integrated systems sales and services agreement” during its meeting this week. The school district over time will receive 1,081 interactive white boards — often called smartboards — along with projection equipment, Web cameras, portable audio equipment and other forms of classroom technology. Superintendent Joe Siano said 385 classrooms in the district are expected to receive smartboards this summer and "we’re working to identify another 200 rooms to get the smartboards after that.” The contract is part of the Intelligent Classroom Initiative included in the 2009 bond issue package. Siano said capital funds cannot be used for general operations that could save jobs in this budget crunch, so the district must use the money as directed to equip schools for the future. "This investment in capital is going to pay off for years down the road,” Siano said. "It will mean improved facilities and improved opportunities for our students.” The board approved a $1.4 million contract to Westfahl Construction to install synthetic sports turf at Norman North High School and Alcott Middle School. The total cost is $1.54 million, or about $427,000 less than was available in bond funds. Board members also approved a $287,400 contract to Terrell Electric to install lighting on softball fields at all four middle schools and called for bids for expanding the Cleveland Elementary kitchen. The project will be paid for from a 2007 bond issue. In addition, school board member Brooks Hull said he will resign from the board next month.
ALSO ...Choirs to perform NORMAN — Norman North High School choirs will present the 19th annual Mostly Mozart concert at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Nancy O’Brian Center for the Performing Arts, 1809 Stubbeman Ave. The choirs, which include the chorale, concert, mixed, jazz and women’s choirs, will perform with a professional orchestra and be joined by the parent choir. Five soloists also will perform. The program also will feature works by Donizetti, Sullivan, Sondheim, Gounod and Bernstein. General admission is $5 for ages 5 and older. FROM STAFF REPORTS