Some Area Education Agencies in Iowa are purchasing technology bunkers to protect important data from being destroyed by a fire, severe storm or other disasters. The Grant Wood A.E.A. in Cedar Rapids installed it’s bunker last April after the old housing unit was inundated with a foot of floodwater in 2008.

Grant Wood A.E.A. Director of Information Technology Dave Brousard says the new shelter provides much safer protection of payroll for the 60 school districts the agency serves around the state. He says the 2008 flood nearly jeopardized timely paychecks sent to roughly 20,000 teachers.

Fortunately, Brousard and others were able to move the computers and servers to higher ground before their building was flooded. But, the scare prompted the Grant Wood A.E.A. to spend $200,000 on the new bunker. Brousard says it’s designed to withstand 150 mile per hour winds. It’s also bulletproof and fireproof.

Flooded site where Grant Wood AEA servers used to reside.

Flooded site where Grant Wood AEA servers used to reside.

The Heartland A.E.A. in Johnston should have a similar technology bunker in place later this year. Brousard says his agency in Cedar Rapids will share capabilities and back up plans with the facility in Johnston.

“We’ll have some servers at each other’s sites, so assuming that a tornado hit our bunker and destroyed it, we could go to Heartland and they would have our data backed up and some servers that we could start restoring to. They would do the same thing with us,” Brousard said.

In addition to the payroll information, the Grant Wood A.E.A. stores information for approximately 86,000 Iowa high school students.