Steamboat Springs School Board discusses future technology and capital needs | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Springs School Board discusses future technology and capital needs

— Tim Miles kicked off his Monday night presentation about the future technology needs of the Steamboat Springs School District by handing out something he said shows just how quickly the options for educators are changing.

"This one allows you to produce, not just consume," the district's technology director said as he passed around Microsoft’s new Surface tablet and detachable keyboard to the Steamboat Springs School Board, whose members were issued iPads less than two years ago.

While some on the board viewed the newer tablet with envy, Miles assured the board iPads still are being used and added to local classrooms, and won’t be replaced just yet.

The Steamboat Springs School District is asking the Steamboat Springs Education Fund Board for $408,700 next school year to add new technology hardware, including tablet computers, to the district. It also is requesting $225,800 to improve network infrastructure and to increase bandwidth.

Miles said in the short term, the district’s most immediate tech needs will be satisfied with the purchase of new document cameras at Steamboat Springs Middle School and the replacement of more than 200 aging computers at the middle and elementary schools.

There also are plans to, as soon as next school year, start rolling out a "bring your own device" system at schools so students can integrate their personal computers and tablets into their classrooms.

Miles' presentation on the district’s short-term tech plans followed a presentation on the district’s five-year capital needs. And a technology-related item topped the list of projects.

Pascal Ginesta, the district’s director of maintenance and operations, said the No. 1 priority identified by the district’s facilities committee was to move the data server room at the middle school into a larger space at the district’s administrative building on Seventh Street.

"We started our technology in a closet, and we’re kind of still there," Miles said about the small room that currently houses the district’s data servers.

Miles said the move and the creation of the new server room is estimated to cost $200,000 and would allow the district to improve and expand its technology infrastructure at a time when new devices are being introduced at a rapid pace.

In addition to the relocation of the server room, projects slated to start this summer include the installation of new lights in the cafeteria at the middle school at a cost of $4,000; the remodeling of three pod classrooms at Strawberry Park Elementary School at a cost of $60,000; and the renovation of the track, field and bleachers at the middle school at a cost of $25,000.

The track project at the middle school could be boosted by a $76,848 Great Outdoors Colorado grant the district is pursuing.

The district generally spends $300,000 of its capital reserve fund annually on maintenance and improvement projects.

The five-year facilities plan includes 25 projects ranging from the replacement of the track at Steamboat Springs High School to resurfacing the parking lots at some schools.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com