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The McCann School Committee met on Thursday to approve equipment purchases so they can be put in place by the time school opens in the fall.

McCann Tech to Overhaul Outdated Website

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — McCann Technical School will completely overhaul the school website to bring it up to date and make it more user-friendly.
 
The School Committee unanimously voted Thursday to allocate $25,000 from the tuition account to hire Finalsite to create a new website for the school.
 
"We have had a lot of problems with the website ... the website is probably 20 years old and it is using a system that we cannot access to change things," Superintendent James Brosnan said. "So when you visit the School Committee site you will see some old friends in the photos."
 
Brosnan said there was a small website update 10 years ago but much of the information on the site is outdated. The website administrator in New Hampshire has to be called to make any changes on the site.
 
Parent and School Committee member Susan Reinhardt noted it is often easier to call the school than to use the website.
 
"As a parent using that website is terrible you can't even tell if school is canceled or where games are," she said. 
 
Brosnan said administrators created specifications they wanted in a new website and sent out an request for proposals.  
 
He said Finalsite will allow administrators to make changes to the site wherever and whenever they want by simply dragging in new photos or new information. He added that the company offers 24/7 customer service and the site will migrate to mobile devices.
 
Brosnan added that the new site will allow the school to better harness social media.
 
"How do we get to that media because when we look around the room most of us are of a different time," he said. "This kind of millennial media ... we want to utilize Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – not that I am going to be tweeting."
 
Brosnan said it will cost $15,000 to set up the site initially and then $8,000 annually.
 
A second bid was received from Website Design and Management in the Midwest that although cheaper with an annual cost of $4,000,  did not meet many of the specifications the school is looking for.
 
"I've got a guy that says 'it is in there and this is what it will cost' and another that says 'we can add it'," he said. "So I am not interested in that at all because they did not meet the specifications."
 
He said the school pays a little under $8,000 a year for its current website. 
 
The School Committee authorized some other purchases Thursday and spent down the $195,873 state Skills Capital Grant received earlier this summer.
 
Brosnan said he called the evening's meeting to execute the purchases so the new equipment would be at the school and installed by the beginning of the school year. 
 
"I know I said see you in September, but we found out afterword that they wanted to push the money out rather than holding it until the first of the year," he said. "That is why we are meeting tonight to get to these bids and get this equipment purchased."
 
The first bid executed was a 3D printer/prototype system. The committee approved the only bid from AET Labs for $103,793.
 
"It was exactly what we were looking for and it hit the nail on the price," Brosnan said. "It is exciting isn't it?"
 
The next purchase was a robotic manufacturing center that the committee voted to purchase from Technical Education Products for $51,500.
 
There were two other bids: one for $86,623 and another for $47,505. The lowest bid did not meet all of the school's specifications even though it was closer to what officials wanted to spend.
 
The final bid of the night was the 40 new engineering workstations that School Committee voted to purchase from Dell for $41,998.
 
Brosnan also asked for $10,000 from the tuition account to cover any installation costs the grant may not completely cover.
 
"I am not quite sure what it is. It may only be a few hundred dollars, or it could be a few thousand," he said. "This gives us some flexibility and allows us to get the right folks in to in to install it."
 
The school also received a $2,000 check from General Dynamics to help support STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) programming. 

Tags: bidding,   McCann,   website,   

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North Adams Hosts 9th Annual Motorama

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The downtown will be filled roadsters, jalopies, muscle cars, vintage vehicles, and pretty much anything on with a motor on Sunday as the city of North Adams hosts the 9th annual Motorama Car Show.
 
The event is free and open to the public and runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Main Street, Holden Street and Eagle Street, which will be closed to all but pedestrian traffic. 
 
Last year's Motorama brought close to 500 vehicles to the streets of North Adams, and this year hopes to draw record attendance. Those interested in exhibiting their vehicles can register beginning at 7:30 a.m. the day of the event. The cost to enter a vehicle is $15.
 
In addition to looking at meticulously restored and maintained vehicles, attendees can enjoy music from WUPE radio, 50/50 raffles, food, and shopping downtown.
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