Naperville 203 plans $20 million technology investment over next five years

  • Naperville Unit District 203 officials are proposing $20 million in technology upgrades over the next five years.

      Naperville Unit District 203 officials are proposing $20 million in technology upgrades over the next five years. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

Updated 9/15/2022 1:18 AM

Naperville Unit District 203 officials are poised to make a sizable investment in technology over the next five years.

As part of the district's overall capital improvement project, the information technology department is scheduling equipment updates that would cost an average of $4.1 million annually from the current school year through 2026-27.


Roger Brunelle, the district's chief information officer, presented a proposed plan to the school board, which will vote Monday on a $3.6 million expenditure for the 2023-24 school year. Because of unknown fluctuations in price and technology advancements, the school board won't immediately approve commitments for future years.

Superintendent Dan Bridges said the $20 million projected cost for technology upgrades through 2027 is part of an ongoing effort to keep district schools updated.

"We have to plan for and prepare for some pretty substantial purchases in support of our technology in our schools," he said.

The largest expense through 2027, at an annual average cost of about $2 million, would be rotating through new Chromebooks for students at the elementary, junior high and high school levels. In the 2026-27 school year, district officials also plan to spend $1.3 million on wireless internet replacement in every district building.

Among the items not covered in the IT capital improvement plan are software licenses and renewals, repairs to existing devices, consulting fees and computer peripherals.

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"We have not built any compounding inflation into these estimates but instead are using our best-guess estimates based upon 2022 dollars and our past experience and industry knowledge," Brunelle said.

In addition to replacing student devices and the districtwide wireless internet, the five-year technology investment would include new staff laptops, computer labs, data center hardware and data storage systems.

As part of the $5.1 million spend for 2026-27, $820,000 would go toward cyber security. But because the expenditure is still four years away, Brunelle said, future amounts are estimates.

"We have the highest confidence level in the cost for this year and next year and have estimated costs to the best of our ability for the following three years," Brunelle said.

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