By BRIANA GUST and JESSICA KRAMPE
West Junior High School is planning to install a $15,331 sound system by the end of October.
The current system, nearly two decades old, was accidentally damaged last year. The quality was diminished and the system became unusable for school productions and events, said James Melton, director of choirs at West Junior.
West Junior High wanted a simple operating system that had a wide array of capabilities.
“Our goal was to replace the old system with one that could be used for propagated performances,” Melton said. “Anyone can come in and flip the switch to turn it on, a sound system for dummies almost.”
Because the purchase cost more than $10,000, a formal bidding process was required through the Columbia Public School District. Greg Cooper, the district purchasing agent, was in charge of guiding the school through proper procedures to obtain the equipment.
Cooper collaborated with West Junior High to create a Request for Proposal (RFP), explaining characteristics the system needed to include. The request was then sent to nine companies. A pre-bid meeting was held so the companies could gain a better understanding of what West Junior High needed.
Following the meeting, three companies bid on the request, with Sound Concepts of Columbia offering the lowest bid, Cooper said.
On Sept. 13, the Columbia School Board allocated a capital expense of $13,675 for the project, requiring West Junior High to fund the remaining balance. The school used donations fund to cover the difference.
“We put donations into the donations account so that we can make good decisions about what we can purchase to support student activities or the school as a whole,” said Sandra Logan, principal of West Junior High.
The new system is expected to enhance student performances.
“For the last few years we really had this need for the sound system,” Logan said. “Here the kids do a wonderful job, but it doesn’t sound good, and it’s very disheartening.”