The Union School Board approved two critical purchases at the Wednesday, Sept. 19, meeting.

Three bids were expected for a new core network switch — the technology responsible for moving electronic data — but the board received two.

The current network switch, installed in 2004, is outdated. The unit and replacement parts have been discontinued by the manufacturer, plus the warranty is no longer valid.

The new proposed unit is expected to accommodate district growth over the next 10 years. It will offer faster data speeds, greater routing capabilities and 24/7 maintenance and support.

The existing unit remains in adequate condition and will act as a backup unit for the new switch.

A motion to accept the lower of the two bids, from CDW Government in Vernon Hills, Ill., was unanimously approved by the board.

CDWG is Union’s primary source of technology parts and is a preferred vendor of Cooperating School Districts.

The bid for equipment and installation was $36,180.

Additionally, work to improve the parking lot behind the shop classrooms at the high school as well as resurfacing the old middle school track will be under way shortly.

Safety concerns have brought these paving projects into focus. Board members commented on the condition of the loose gravel path that connects Wildcat Drive to the upper parking lots across from the fine arts center. They said it has speed holes instead of speed bumps.

Both paving projects will improve bus parking around the schools for afternoon dismissals.

Buses at the middle school will be able to loop around the track single-file instead of double park in the street.

Covering unpaved areas at the high school and re-paving at middle school was not specifically budgeted for this year, which drew question from some board members.

“It’s pretty high dollar,” said superintendent Steve Bryant.

He also assured the board that there is money to make the project possible in the district’s capitol improvement funds.

The board voted unanimously to approve an $85,000 bid from Carl Burns Asphalt Paving and Sealing.