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Schools getting network upgrades
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The Platteville School District has a list of capital improvement projects scheduled for this summer.

Some of the projects will be started before this school year ends.

The Platteville School Board voted Feb. 11 to accept bids on two projects — a new district-wide telephone system through Heartland Business Systems for $94,048, and a network infrastructure upgrade through Compunet for $149,729.

The network project will move the school district away from what district business manager Art Beaulieu called its “copper-based system,” with hardwired classrooms. The upgrade will include 100 wireless access points and 1-gigahertz speed capacity.

School district information technology manager Bill Grutz said about 300 students bring wireless devices to school, and many teachers bring laptops.

The installation of 40 new switches will take place during spring vacation ahead of the installation of the new phone system.

The two projects are part of a six-project $622,000 list, including roofing projects, asbestos removal and floor tile replacement, parking lot maintenance, and the third phase of work at Neal Wilkins Elementary School.

The projects will be paid for through the school district’s capital improvement fund.

The network upgrade could be considered a step toward a school district-wide bring-your-own device policy, except that, said school district superintendent Connie Valenza, there is “really no way we could go ahead with a comprehensive educational program with bring-your-own-device.”

The school district sent out surveys to the emails of school district parents asking them which devices were used in their households, and how they’d feel about their children’s bringing devices to school and using them in classes.