By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (May 16, 2016) — Gilbert Intermediate School is getting iPad Air 2s.
Stephenville ISD trustees voted unanimously during Monday’s regular meeting at Bond Auditorium to approve slightly more than $400,000 for the planned extension of the district’s iChampion 1:1 technology initiative that by the end of 2017 should provide every student in grades 3-12 with an iPad geared for educational purposes. That cost includes the devices, software, cases and storage carts.
The rollout of iPads for students and teachers began at Hook Elementary last fall. The Gilbert iPads will be here this fall, and pending board approval, Henderson Junior High School will get theirs in January, 2017, followed by the high school with the final stage of the rollout in the fall of 2017.
The technology theme continued with board members hearing from Shelby Womack, district executive director of technology and digital learning, about the 802.11 ac Wave 2, a fancy title for a wireless internet system that won’t even be introduced to the market until Tuesday. Trustees unanimously approved the purchase of the Meraki upgrade from Cisco Systems. The district will ultimately be processing at 1-2.5 gigabytes per second compared to the current rate of 256 megabytes per second, Womack explained.
The upgrade will be district wide, and some of the almost $300,000 in costs will be recouped through E-Rate Funding reimbursement and the sale of old wireless equipment, especially that currently in use at the newer Central and Chamberlain elementary facilities.
Wood AC won the bid for new HVAC units across the district, some of which will be installed by helicopter. The cost is $699,229, and maintenance director Keith Starnes told trustees all of that will be covered by insurance.
Trustees and superintendent Matt Underwood discussed potentially funding the construction of a locker room specifically for Stephenville ISD at Tarleton Memorial Stadium, which will receive a $24 million facelift following the 2016 football season. The Yellow Jacket football team currently uses Tarleton’s locker room, an inconvenience for both parties, Underwood said.
Proposed cost of the locker room is upward of $600,000, and trustees even discussed a willingness to increase the $85,750 the district pays annually for facilities usage if the university would construct the locker room itself and allow Stephenville to use it.
“I don’t see a reason to spend $600,000 on a locker room,” said trustee Scott Osman. “That’s ridiculous.”
Underwood said negotiations will continue, with the university hoping for an answer by the first of July.
Once Dr. Ann Calahan and Scott Osman were sworn in for their new terms on the board, trustees unanimously re-elected officers within the board to all the same titles for the 2016-17 school year. As soon as the item was opened for discussion, trustee Gary Sult moved to “maintain the entire slate of officers from this year for next year,” to which there was no discussion and a quick vote of approval.
This means Calahan remains board president, Osman vice president and Sherrie Evans secretary.
The meeting began with proclamations recognizing droves of students for success in extracurricular competitions. Many of those honored are shown below: