The Valdosta High School Board of Education (BOE) factored in the pluses of allowing a cell tower on school property and concluded that $576,543.24 over 25 years was worth it, reports the Valdosta Daily Times. The Georgia school district will use the funds for a literacy program benefitting early readers from kindergarten through third grade. An unused and remote portion of the property will host the Verizon tower.
The tower will also aid in keeping at-home students connected as well as assisting in the transition from virtual to in-school learning. The Valdosta BOE reports that although the year started out with 100 percent virtual learning, more students have been returning to the campus. Information Technology officer, B. Kevin Smith, pointed out to the board how crucial it is to keep the students connected, especially if the students return to online studies from home.
External wireless access points currently link all schools, as well as the central office and transportation office. Students can also connect to the wireless network from the parking lots. Seven WiFi Rangers were contributed by the Georgia Department of Education and can be mounted atop vehicles or placed in-building. Additionally, any families requesting HotSpots have received the devices.