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Satellite internet firm wants to locate equipment at ECES


June 26, 2019
The Crawford County Community School Corp. Board of Trustees, at its meeting last Tuesday night, entertained a request from a high-speed satellite internet company to enter negotiations regarding the company leasing ground at East Crawford Elementary School.

California-based Viasat's Randy Jones said the satellite company provides services to the Department of Defense, National Security Agency and other governmental organizations, as well as wireless internet services to non-governmental agencies, which is what it is proposing with the ECES project.

"We do that by building wireless networks that talk to a satellite that then talks to a, what we want to put on your property, known as a satellite access node that goes through a fiber line to wherever you're trying to get to the internet," he said.

Jones said a computer would connect to a satellite dish similar to DirecTV. The signal would be sent to Viasat's satellite and then back down to the satellite access node, down the fiber line to wherever a person was trying to go on the internet, as it then feeds back to the fiber line, back to the satellite access node, back to the satellite, back to the satellite dish and then to the computer.

"The key for us," he noted, "is the satellite, the satellite access node and the fiber."

Jones said Viasat plans to launch its satellite in 2020 or 2021, "but, right now, what we're moving toward is building these (satellite access nodes) across the country."

The company is seeking about a 700-square-foot site in the back grassy area off of the parking lot at ECES, Jones said. About 300 square feet would be secured by a six-foot chain link fence, with the remaining 400 square feet reserved for possible expansion, he said.

"We're responsible for bringing fiber, we're responsible for bringing power, we're responsible to pay for all that, not the school," Jones said, adding Viasat also would be responsible for maintenance.

Asked by Trustee Doug McLain how much Viasat would pay the school corporation in monthly rent, Jones answered that negotiations would begin at $500.

Superintendent Mike Key said the service would benefit South Crawford Elementary School, which currently lags behind the corporation's other sites in internet service.

Following the lead of Trustee Larry Bye, who said he would prefer to see project details in writing before moving forward, the board took no action. The matter is expected to be on the agenda at the board's July meeting.

In another matter, the board voted 6-0 (Trustee Myrna Sanders was absent) to approve the following in regard to the proposed $4.5 million potential remodeling of Crawford County High School that would bring Crawford County Middle School under the same roof: Kovart Hawkins architects Inc. as the architect and to proceed with preparation of schematic design documents, Barnes & Thornburg LLP as the bond counsel for the financing and George K. Baum & Co. as the underwriter for the financing. The board must still approve the project.

The board, at the recommendation of Jamie Smith, the corporation's transportation director, also voted 6-0 to approve the purchase and installation of 39 camera systems from SEON for all corporation and contracted buses.

With the approval of new bus contracts and the requirements to own a 2007 or newer bus, the corporation will have a large number of replacement buses corporation wide, Smith said, noting it didn't make sense to pay to have the current failing systems moved to the new buses.

SEON's bid of $87,287 was the lowest of the four the corporation received.

Smith said the new camera systems will be high definition and each bus will have four interior cameras and two external cameras (on the stop-arm), compared to only three interior cameras per bus now.

He added the new cameras should be installed prior to the start of the school year.

Dennis Talley, the board's president and an Indiana conservation officer, praised the upgrade from a security standpoint. He said good camera systems make it easier to get a conviction in court for stop-arm violations.

"If you put that footage up in front of the jury, you can't argue with that," he said.

In other business, the trustees:

Were notified by Key that CCHS was ranked 49th in the state for academic excellence for high schools according to U.S. News and World Report.

Were told by Key that the Class of 2019 earned 991 dual credits, giving them a jump-start on college.

The program, funded by First Savings Bank, allows students to earn college credit at no cost to them while still at CCHS.

"They are a wonderful steward of the school," Key said of FSB.

Voted 6-0 to approve the following consent agenda items:

The resignations of Heather Williams as Spanish teacher at CCHS, Regan Baird as sixth-grade math teacher at CCMS and, effective July 1, Cynthia Knowles as CCHS director of guidance.

The following recommendations from CCHS Principal Brandon Johnson: Heather Williams, part-time support aide; Robyn Nordoff and Trish Carmickle, summer school math teachers; and Sarai Ramos Yunque, foreign language teacher.

The following recommendations from CCMS Principal Amy Belcher: Jill Philpott, sixth-grade math teacher; and 2019-20 resource orders and pricing.

East Crawford Elementary School Principal Brandy Stroud's recommendation of curricular fees for the 2019-20 school year.

South Crawford Elementary School Principal Amy Etienne's recommendation of the Title I grant application for the 2019-20 school year.

West Crawford Elementary School Principal Amanda Wright's recommendation of Shana Baxley as part-time custodian.

The recommendation of Smith, the corporation's transportation director, to sell Sherrie Bell's bus and route No. 24 to Tim Fields, effective June 5.

The following recommendations from Athletic Director Jerry Hanger: Steve Hilgartner, girls' varsity golf coach; Kyle Chesser, varsity cross country coach; Jerry Hodges, boys' varsity tennis coach; Pam Beckman, junior high school boys' tennis coach; Michael Carlisle, assistant varsity football coach; Robert Schwartz, assistant junior varsity football coach; Doe Elliott, eighth-grade football coach; Jason Stroud, seventh-grade football coach; Jessica Hodges, varsity cheerleading coach; Julie Adams, varsity volleyball coach; Laken Fraime, eighth-grade volleyball coach; and Courtney Crecelius, seventh-grade volleyball coach.

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