WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - UPDATE - 9/21/2020
The Wichita Falls ISD school board voted 7-0 in favor of beginning the process to create district-wide WiFi network.
“Pretty cutting edge stuff.,” Superintendent Michael Kuhrt said, “there’s not a lot of people that have their own WiFi.”
Wichita Falls ISD begins the process this week of gathering data from across the district. The data will focus on which areas of the district have the highest volume of students without internet.
“There’s a process that takes place that’s about a $12,000 for us to figure out how that’s going to work,” Kuhrt added.
The initial up front cost will tell the district and Red River Technology what the cost of future sites will be and how far of a reach they will have.
The district is expected to bring back its initial findings to the board during their October meeting.
The Wichita Falls ISD is in the process of figuring out how it can create its own wifi network for the district.
The school board will vote Monday whether to enter into a contract with Red River Technology to begin surveying sites and figuring out how to get internet to those who don’t have it.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, just because a student had a Chromebook didn’t mean they were able to use it.
“Some of them are stuck because they cannot use them once they leave school,” Superintendent Michael Kuhrt said, “so we said we need to figure out if we can come up with a district-wide wifi system.”
On Tuesday the district presented early ideas to partner with Red River Technology to create various access points around the district.
“This solution would actually extend to the kids houses,” Shad McGaha, the district’s chief of technology, said.
“A private network that we can control and we can control access to. In other words you need one of our devices to get onto our network,” Superintendent Kuhrt added.
If the board approves, district officials will begin gathering data on which parts of the city have the densest population of students without access to the internet and which locations would be best to put a tower.
Officials say there are ten possible sites with an average cost of $12,000 each to survey.
They say doing this now, though, only helps them later on.
“By doing this we help bridge that gap,” McGaha said, “so we don’t have to worry about these things in the future.”