COUNTY LINES

North Carolina schools restore IT destroyed

CTRL-ALT-RENEW. Hurricane Floyd razed Pattillo Elementary School in Tarboro, N.C., leaving its students in trailers and its computers in shambles. At Trenton Elementary School in Trenton, N.C., 8 inches of standing water in many rooms left much technology unusable.

Operation Re-Boot came to the rescue.

The program, sponsored by the nonprofit ExplorNet, gathered 100 information workers and high school students during two days in March to construct and rebuild computers for schools in North Carolina's Nash, Edgecombe, Craven and Jones counties, ExplorNet chief information officer Clayton Henkel said.

Volunteers met at the National Guard Armory in Raleigh, where they built 80 PCs and upgraded 120. The Guard then transported the computers to the schools in Humvees.

Power kick. SAS Institute Inc. of Cary, N.C., donated the 120 200-MHz Dell Computer Corp. PCs for upgrade. The volunteers boosted the PCs' computing power to 500 MHz using kits from PowerLeap of Belle Mead, N.J. ExplorNet used cash donations from other sponsors to buy the additional 80 computers.

ExplorNet is a federally funded organization that promotes and expands technology use in schools'particularly those in rural or underserved areas.

Its 3-year-old Computer Recycling (CPR) project has taught high school students in 60 counties across the country to build and upgrade computers at about 75 percent of the cost of new machines. Many CPR students took part in Operation Re-Boot, including ten from Southwest Edgecombe High School in Pinetops County.

'With so much work left to be done, I wanted my kids to have a positive way to channel their energy,' said Dwight Jefferson, the high school's CPR instructor. 'Their little sisters and brothers may use our computers at their elementary school.'

Local support. Carolina Power and Light Co., Cisco Systems Inc., First Citizens Bank & Trust Co., Glaxo Wellcome Inc., Interpath Communications Inc. and TekSell.com Inc. also sponsored the project.

Other ExplorNet programs include SmarTech, which links companies with schools in the CPR program, and the ExplorNet Wiring Project, which helps schools bring Web access to classrooms.

Visit www.explornet.org for more information.

'Claire E. House

chouse@gcn.com

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