County approves purchase of phone system

Published 9:30 am Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Just a few weeks shy of the when the current installation is scheduled for obsolescence, the backbone of the Cass County government’s telephone system will soon receive a 21st Century upgrade.

The county board of commissioners approved the purchase of a new VOIP-powered telephone system for its six government buildings during their meeting Thursday evening in Cassopolis. The new installation will include the purchase of more than 200 new phones from communications vendor ShoreTel for county offices, as well as the necessary switches and cabling.

Grand Rapids-based Quantum Leap Communications, the county’s current telephone service vendor, will provide the equipment, installation and training for the new internet-based phone system. The total cost of the upgrade, including a five-percent contingency cost, will be $127,147.

“This is a replacement of the telephone system for all of the buildings, including the animal control building, sheriff’s office, 911, the county building, law and courts and a phone for the maintenance department,” said Kerry Collins, the information systems director for the county.

The new system will offer several upgrades over the current one, including the ability to forward voicemails left on a particular phone to that user’s email account.

The upgrade will replace the existing telephone system, which is scheduled to reach its end of service life on Dec. 31, meaning that the vendor would no longer provide support or parts to the county in the event the phone system went down.

As part of the purchase, technicians with Quantum Leap Communications will schedule visits to each of the county office buildings to help train employees on the operation of the new handsets, Collins said.

“It will probably take most people 20 minutes to learn how to use the telephone system,” he said.

The commissioners also approved the purchase of new cabling from Midwest Communications for the county building and sheriff’s office to support the new system, in the amount of $96,732.