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The Grand Island School Board on Friday awarded $663,160 in bids as the first step toward installation of a state-of-the-art computer communications system for district schools.

The board, in a special meeting, voted unanimously to accept a $363,000 bid for cable and wiring installation to CommTech Communications Inc. of North Tonawanda and a $300,160 bid for electronic equipment to Annese & Associates Inc. of Rochester.

James Szafran, technical coordinator for the district, said: "Right now, we have a lot of old equipment, but with this system, we plan on putting a computer in every classroom."

Business manager Larry Schaller said the computer system would be financed through the district capital project fund. "We've worked on this for three years, and money was earmarked for the project in the past. The 1995-96 budget is not affected," he said.

Szafran said the district plans to purchase equipment and computer work stations valued at an additional $200,000, pending board approval of bids. That technology would enable staff members and students to access the Internet.

Schaller told the board that work would begin next week and that students probably would be traveling the information superhighway "in time for the beginning of the new school year in September."

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