WLCSD to enhance network infrastructure district-wide

$200,000 network system will only cost the district approximately $40,000


In a Special Board Meeting on March 22, 2024, the West Liberty Community School Board addressed updates to the district's technological infrastructure.

Brian Rance, Technology Director, talked about the necessity and benefits of a comprehensive upgrade to the district's network system.

The proposed project aims to replace all access points in the buildings, offering a significant enhancement to the network across the district.

Simply put, this latest advancement in technology will improve internet access and speed across the entire district.

The project will benefit both staff and student productivity, which will help usher in a better technological environment for WLCSD.

“This upgrade will replace all access points in the buildings to enhance the network across the district, resulting in a better product for our staff and students,” Rance later told the Index.

The funding for the initiative is supported by the government E-rate program. The federal initiative provides essential subsidies to schools and libraries, making technological advancements more accessible and affordable.

From this WLCSD stands to benefit from an 80 percent discount, based on its free/reduced population criteria, significantly mitigating the financial burden.

Despite the total estimated cost amounting to approximately $200,000, the implementation of the new network system is projected to cost the district approximately $40,000.

Board member Kira Achen moved to approve the adoption of the Aruba network system with CDW, seconded by Audra Daufeldt, a motion which was unanimously carried by the board.

The CDW Corporation is a leading multi-brand provider of information technology solutions to business, government, education and healthcare customers in the United States.

The upgrade includes all buildings within the district, and is expected to be completed during summer break, minimizing disruption to both staff and students. 

Technology continues to advance, and this is one way that WLCSD is attempting to keep up with the growing and changing demand.

“Our schools no longer have computer labs as we are 1:1 with Chromebooks to provide increased access to technology and online resources for our students,” says Rance. 

“Teachers use the internet in a variety of ways to support student learning,” he said. “As you know technology moves and changes rapidly and requires periodic updates.” 

Accordingly, this project serves as a proactive measure to maintain the district's technological infrastructure at a high standard.

Research conducted by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics found 94 percent of public schools surveyed provided digital devices to students who needed them at the beginning of the 2022/23 school year.

While chalkboards still serve their purpose, new waves of technology will continue to guide Iowa’s school districts, including West Liberty.