Butler, Feelhaver, Cooper and Riverside elementary schools are being upgraded to offer wireless Internet access.
The reason, according to Jeremy Pearson, FDCSD director of technology, is because of the new middle school.
"The buying power of the middle school really let us take advantage of some steep discounts that we had on the equipment we're getting," he said.
If purchased for the schools separately, the equipment would cost would be $123,295.18. Purchased together, though, the cost will be $114,678.30. This is a savings for the district of $8,623.88, Pearson said.
"The amount of equipment we needed to just do the middle school by itself was so high that just adding in all the other little pieces for the small elementary buildings, it just hardly wasn't any more equipment," he said. "By adding all that stuff together, we just had so much quantity of stuff they gave us more discounts.
Additional equipment needed will cost $12,300. A total $13,200.10 is already in place from Microsoft settlement dollars. The FDCSD board approved an additional $23,991 from its capital projects fund on Oct. 22.
The project will provide wireless Internet access, public and internal, in all elementary schools, while being "scaled to let us grown into the future," Pearson said.
"We've had some elementary school buildings that wanted to do more iPads or more netbooks and things like that," he said. "They want to get more technology in the hands of the kids. Wireless at our elementary buildings has really been non-existent."
Duncombe Elementary already has wireless Internet access, Pearson said.
"We did that last year, towards the middle of our year, with our Microsoft settlement dollars," he said. "We're using that same equipment and expanding at all the other buildings."
Wireless access in all of its schools has long been a desire of the district.
"We have some wireless stuff in those buildings, but it's the stuff you would just run out to purchase," Pearson said. "When somebody needed some access we would just throw out a little home access point. It was really a way that we could provide some wireless coverage in there for those necessary devices but was never meant to do building-wide or a major implementation of wireless."
The equipment has been ordered, Pearson said, and installation will begin "as soon as the equipment shows up."
"We will start at Feelhaver first, because they're the ones that approached us to start with to get the ball rolling," he said. "As soon as the equipment starts rolling out, we'll start with the installation in a couple of weeks."