|Written by Mark Lineberger|
|Wednesday, 18 May 2011 00:00|
The Yavapai County Educational Technology Consortium wants permission from the Camp Verde Unified School District to eventually install microwave broadband towers on district property that would open up high speed Internet access to link the schools in the county together.
The board considered a lease agreement for the equipment at their May 10 meeting.
The project is being funded in part through GovNet, a public/private partnership helping to create a $39 million broadband network across the state of Arizona.
A good portion of the funding was given to Arizona as a result of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, commonly referred to as stimulus money.
In Yavapai County, the project is being handled by the consortium, a group that was started by Yavapai County Superintendent of Schools Tim Carter and several other educators throughout the county. Aside from public schools, the consortium also represents Yavapai College, Prescott College, some charter schools and the Yavapai County Library District.
Once the project is up and running, the practical applications are numerous, said Kirk Waddle, speaking on behalf of the consortium.
“Eventually this could expand for use in professional development and distance learning,” Waddle said. “Say there’s a French teacher somewhere that’s really good, now we can share that teacher anywhere.”
Waddle said similar uses of the technology were already being used successfully in the Midwest and across the country.
The lease agreement calls for the use of four towers, one for each school near the main school campus plus South Verde Technology Magnet School on Main Street downtown.
The district might need fewer than four, depending on how the equipment is eventually set up, Waddle said, something engineers will work on with the district.
Waddle said the towers aren’t obtrusive and could most likely be integrated onto district property with no problems.
The schools would be connected to other county sites through a transmitter on Mingus Mountain, CVUSD Superintendent Dan Brown said.
The lease would only cost around $1 per year, a nominal fee Waddle said was required to make everything comply with the law.
The equipment could be in place as soon as the end of this coming summer, Waddle said.
“There really is no downside here,” Waddle said. “If you don’t use it, you don’t pay.”
Once it is up and running, Waddle said that people with expertise would be brought in to teach others how to use the technology effectively.
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