Back-of-classroom cabinets boost school district’s info-tech upgrade

APWMayville (www.apwmayville.com) recently completed a multi-year project with St. Paul School District in Minnesota...

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APWMayville (www.apwmayville.com) recently completed a multi-year project with St. Paul School District in Minnesota that saw hundreds of its Mini Max wall cabinets installed in various district schools to improve information technology (IT) in the classroom.

Gene Osterberg, owner and president of Genesis Technical Marketing, and APWMayville’s sales representative for the school district, explains that the district wanted a cabinet that could fit securely on the wall in the back of the classroom, and provide plenty of ventilation for heat-generating equipment while minimizing noise level. The district also wanted to ensure the cabinets had security features to guarantee that only administrative personnel could access equipment.

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Mini Max cabinets are designed to fit securely on the wall in the back of a classroom, and feature non-removable hinges to enhance security.
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“The Mini Max wall cabinet offers enough space to house equipment for classroom IT upgrades without being obtrusive to the classroom,” says Osterberg. “Tests and evaluations proved that these cabinets could handle the weight and were durable. The cabinets also did not sag over time, as did some lower quality products.”

The wall-mount cabinets feature non-removable hinges designed to prevent unauthorized access, ensuring that only administrative staff have access. “Vented side panels allow plenty of air flow through the cabinets while suppressing noise,” Osterberg adds. “Other products with completely perforated side panels allowed an unacceptably high ambient noise level in the classroom.”

Each cabinet houses a Cisco IT switch and a fiber panel that connects to various data drops in the classroom for computer connections. The fiber panel can handle up to 70 computer connections. An Ethernet backbone runs from each cabinet to the main school server, while various Category 6 cables connect to main and intermediate distribution frames for server connections and electrical power. A UPS system backs up all power on the server rack in the main distribution frame.

With its three distinct sections, the Mini Max is designed for simplified maintenance. Access to the rear of the cabinet is simplified since the center area swings out from the wall for access to the rear of the equipment, its connections, and cable runs. The front door of the Mini Max swings open for access to front panel equipment settings.

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Ventilation, low noise, and security are key features of the Mini Max wall cabinets, used throughout the St. Paul, MN school district.
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Peoples Electric (www.peoplesco.com) of St. Paul led the cabinet installations for each classroom. Project manager Mike Smith says, “The extra space in the cabinet allows for larger fiber panels, and those extra ports can be used to simplify cable runs if a classroom wants to add more computers.”

Smith concludes, “Instead of making 150 to 200-foot cable runs down the hallways, the staff can make 50 to 70-foot runs inside the classroom. Once everything is terminated, it’s all set. The switches and the ports are right there, and that cuts down on the school district’s costs in the long run.”


Short runs…

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