The Vernonia School District has a new school for its K-12 classes, but it still has old computers in its labs and for its staff. That is, until Portland Community College stepped in with a donation of newer equipment.
Staff from PCC’s Rock Creek Campus (17705 N.W. Springville Road) delivered more than $17,000 worth of used computers and LCD flat screens to the Vernonia School District last month. The donation of technology (worth more than $75,000 brand new three years ago) by PCC will go toward upgrading the school district’s computer labs for the students and equipment used by staff and teachers.
In total, staff trucked 85 Dell Optiplex 760 computers and 47 17-inch LCD flat panel monitors and keyboards to the rebuilt K-12 school on Missouri Avenue. Vernonia Superintendent Ken Cox said the donation was a welcome sight as most of his computers at the school are more than five years old. The technology will be up and running by this fall when school starts. In the meantime Vernonia staff will work to format and upgrade the software on each computer.
“This is a fantastic addition to our district,” said Cox, who rolled up his sleeves and helped PCC staff unload the computers into the second floor library for processing. “This is going to help us meet the needs of the children and keep us up to speed with the technology. We appreciate PCC making this happen. This is really a big boon for us. It’s going to be good.”
This donation has been a long time in the making. In November, State Rep. Brad Witt discussed the need for newer computer equipment for Vernonia at the Columbia County Economic Team breakfast. Janis Nichols, community relations manager for Rock Creek Campus, heard about what he said and took his words to heart. Nichols said she knew that as a result of the college’s bond renovation of the campus’ Building 7 that there would be surplus computers available. Rock Campus Technology Solutions Services got involved, but how many computers and what kind needed were still undetermined.
Craig Londraville, the campus’ technology services manager, stepped up and developed a game plan to provide Vernonia with the college’s Dell computers that were still under warranty - all the same make and model. Often on days off, Rock Creek’s TSS team prepared these computers for delivery to Vernonia while simultaneously installing more than 100 new computers for summer classes at Rock Creek. Central Distribution Services packed the PCC truck and it arrived mid-morning on May 29 at Vernonia’s new K-12 school to deliver the goods to excited staff and students.
“My team was very excited to help with this donation and saw it as an opportunity to support our community,” Londraville said. “They took the extra time to make sure the computers and monitors were in good working order and had the same operating system. They also realized that we should send extra computers for parts. My team went well beyond expectations to make this donation to Vernonia happen.”
The Rock Creek technology team included Dorena Campbell, Matthew Brehm, Lorraine Renard, Jamie Costa, Bill Parsons, John Pedisch and Andrea Jackson.
“Craig and his technology team at Rock Creek went above and beyond,” said Leslie Riester, associate vice president of Technology Solution Services.
Vernonia, with a population a little more than 2,000, is a city in Columbia County located on the Nehalem River. It is situated in the heart of the most important timber-producing areas of the state with the logging industry building the town to what it is today. But in 2007, heavy storms washed out roads and destroyed homes and infrastructure, including ruining the old K-12 school on Bridge Street. In 2009, Vernonia School District voters approved a $13 million bond to build a new K-12 school up on Missouri Avenue away from the Nehalem, eventually opening in the fall of 2012. But the district didn’t have the resources to upgrade its technology until PCC stepped in to assist with its donation.
“We knew there would be new equipment purchased for the reconstructed Building 7 classrooms and we promised to keep Vernonia in our thoughts as we traded up,” Nichols said. “We re-opened Building 7 on March 10 and we delivered the surplus computers to Vernonia 11 weeks later. We were thrilled to be able to do it.”