Building digital bridges across New Mexico

By Luke Frank

Photography By Rebecca Gustaf

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Sandia’s K-12 computer donation program reaches 80 schools in 12 counties

man loads computer onto flatbed trailer
BRIDGE BUILDERS — A representative from the Socorro school district loads computers and equipment onto a trailer. Sandia’s K-12 computer donation program distributed more than 1,250 computers and equipment to 80 schools in 12 New Mexico counties.

True to form, Sandia is connecting people with information and ideas from around the world. This time, it’s New Mexico students ages 5-18 in classrooms from high schools in Silver City to elementary schools in Albuquerque’s North Valley, and several points in between.

This year, Sandia’s K-12 computer donation program saw more than 1,250 computers and other IT accessories quickly loaded into compact cars, flatbed trailers and full-size delivery trucks. Chris Martinez, lead technologist for Socorro Independent School District, loaded 10 desktop computers, 10 laptops and 20 monitors into his vehicle for the quick trip back. “This is so important to our students,” Martinez said. “It’s vital in helping stage all of our learning for them.”

The program, created by Sandia’s community involvement, property management and reapplication departments in 2003 following an executive order from President Bill Clinton, has donated more than 17,250 computers across the state. The executive order “streamlines the transfer of surplus federal computer equipment to the nation’s classrooms to help ensure that American children have the skills they need to succeed in the information-intensive 21st Century.”

three employees pack laptops into boxes
CLASS ACT — From left, Elizabeth Chavez, Vincent Moya and Semiramis Novak help pack donated laptops for K-12 school representatives to take back to their districts.

Because computer technology evolves so quickly, Sandia’s workforce is encouraged to regularly acquire new computers to meet Labs-wide performance standards. When new computers and components are ordered, the old equipment is sent to Sandia’s property management and reapplication department. The outdated computers are wiped, and the computers and other components are stored for the yearly donation event.

As the school year approaches, Sandia communicates with New Mexico school districts about their needs and puts together pallets of equipment for schools to pick up. “They just have to make it out here,” Joey Giron, Sandia’s logistics operations manager, said. “We’ll help load them up and get them on their way.

“Sandia considers the K-12 program essential to the community,” Joey said. “These computers are 4-6 years old and have plenty of good use left in them, so we’re placing them in classrooms in need. This is another way can we support generations of New Mexicans in developing essential computer and life skills, and ultimately being competitive in a dynamic workforce.”

2019 donations

CPUs 900+
iPads/laptops 250+
Monitors 170
Printers 100
Keyboards 400
Mice 150
Power cords 100