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Brentwood district buildings set to go wireless

| Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, 5:39 p.m.

All three Brentwood Borough School District buildings should have wireless networks for the 2017-18 school year.

Kylie LaSota, coordinator of instruction of technology and innovation, updated school board members Monday about the E-Rate program for a wireless network and what it means for the district.

“This will truly allow us to provide a 21st century learning environment,” LaSota said.

Wireless facilities will enable students and teachers to have connected devices that will enable more collaboration between students and teachers. Instead of teachers taking students to the computer lab for lessons, the technology will be in the classroom. Wireless capabilities also will enable the district to implement a 1:1 initiative, in which each student would have his or her own electronic device — laptop, tablet, etc.

With improved internet access comes the need for better network security, as well as the need to develop a policy for appropriate use.

Board members in November voted to advertise for bids. A mandatory walk-through with interested vendors is scheduled for Dec. 7, to allow them to better understand of the scope of the project.

A delay in passing the 2016 state budget caused district officials to delay the wireless technology project for all three school buildings. The extra time enabled LaSota to have technology specialists from other school districts review the scope of Brentwood's project.

“The bid that you will get is robust enough to keep us up to speed with the latest and greatest that will be coming, not just what is current,” LaSota said.

Superintendent Amy Burch said the district qualified for the federal E-Rate program, which helps schools and libraries obtain affordable telecommunications and internet access. Burch said the district qualified for 60-percent federal funding for the winning bid.

Burch said because the project scope includes updates to switches, control devices and cable, there could be an increase in cost. Bids are due Jan. 5.

Jim Spezialetti is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-388-5805 or jspezialetti@tribweb.com.

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