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Blair Oaks talks stormwater, internet

Blair Oaks talks stormwater, internet

September 14th, 2017 by Phillip Sitter in Local News

Blair Oaks High School in Wardsville

Infrastructure was a main topic of discussion Tuesday at the Blair Oaks R-2 Board of Education meeting.

Superintendent Jim Jones said Wednesday stormwater and internet issues were some of the main items of discussion.

As the district has added more buildings and paved surfaces over time, rainfall has generated more run-off that flows down and under Falcon Lane.

Jones said the district has explored short-term possibilities of work on ditches, culverts and scour guards to better control the flow of water, as well as an idea of longer-range plans.

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Such a long-term solution would be "quite an extensive project" that might involve features like a retention pond and could cost around $40,000, he said.

A bigger undertaking like that probably would have to be completed during the summer months, as it would involve Falcon Lane being closed and therefore also would involve the village of Wardsville, he said.

"We're a long ways from that period of time, but it's not too early to be thinking about it," he said.

Improvements to the district's digital infrastructure are coming much sooner.

Jones expects the district's internet bandwidth to be expanded from 100 mbps to 250 mbps within the next few weeks. He added all the paperwork with MoreNet has been done, and they are awaiting CenturyLink to do its work.

The district pays for its bandwidth through MoreNet on fiber cables maintained by CenturyLink.

At current digital capacities, Jones said, the bandwidth is maxed out at certain points of the school day.

"We only have so much going in. Sometimes we don't consider ourselves as being rural, but when it comes to technology infrastructure, I think we could categorize ourselves in the rural category," he said.

The increase of 150 mbps will cost $10,000, but "250 (mbps) is ultimately not going to be enough," he added, and 500 mpbs or 1 gbps (gigabyte per second) will be necessary in the long term.

The district brought in approximately 1,000 new devices this year for its expansion of technology access for students.

"When you expand as large as we did in such a short period of time, you're going to expect a couple of challenges along the way," though it's nothing they necessarily didn't anticipate, Jones said.

The district is also hosting annual bus safety training today for students declared as bus captains by their driver. The captains are responsible for helping in an immediate emergency response in the event of an accident, especially if a driver is unable to take the lead.