- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 2, 2014

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Council Bluffs students are getting hands-on experience working at a data center operated by the school district.

The Council Bluffs Community School District unveiled the $67,000 data center Tuesday night at Abraham Lincoln High School, according to the Daily Nonpareil (https://bit.ly/1ln6rag). Students and teachers explained the operation to about 70 people who attended the open house.

The district’s Emerging Technologies Academy will require that students monitor and make repairs when needed to servers at the data center, which is used to store medical research data.

“They have an actual hands-on environment,” said Debra Robinson, a business and technology teacher at Abraham Lincoln. “They have to work together to troubleshoot and problem-solve.”

Google and Echo Group, a Council Bluffs electrical supplier, gave financial and technical support for the data center, which took about six months to build. The work of the students is supervised by their teachers.

Students explained how colored dots on a computer monitor can indicate when something is going wrong.

Courtney Christensen, a 15-year-old sophomore, said it can get hectic when there is a problem.

“Everyone is running around trying to figure out what went wrong,” she said.

But 16-year-old junior Kyla Kern said students learn to isolate the issue.

“First you gotta know what the problem is,” Kern said. “If you don’t know what it is, you’re not going to solve it.”

Chris Russell, an operations manager at Google’s data center in Council Bluffs, said the new facility will expose students to real work experiences and get them interested in technology careers.

The center handles medical research data from the University of Washington, Stanford University School of Medicine Project and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. The institutions are working to analyze proteins to improve understanding and find cures for illnesses including Alzheimer’s disease and forms of cancer.

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Information from: The Daily Nonpareil, https://www.nonpareilonline.com


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