School Board to Consider Partnership with Reston Wireless Provider

Last night that Clarke County School Board approved payment of $1.7 million to Howard Shockey & Sons for progress work on the new Clarke County High School. An additional payment of $14.5K to Crabtree Rohrbaugh and Associates (CRA) for design work on the high school greenhouse will finish out a year that leaves construction of the new high school facility ahead of schedule and under budget as well as CCPS students and staff pleased that a new greenhouse facility will be part of the campus next year. In other business, the school board explored the concept of a partnership with a local wireless provider that could generate income for the school system in exchange for placing wireless towers on school property.

With actual construction ahead of schedule thanks to the fall’s excellent weather combined with the hard work of Shockey crews combined with the impact of several engineering change orders, the current budget is running approximately $41K below expected levels.

November 30, 2010 payment request by Shockey were approved by the Clarke County School Board

The difference between projected payments and actual payments as of December 1, 2010 is $1.2 million. Actual payments are higher than originally projected due to accelerated effort by Shockey and its subcontractors.

With school construction moving forward at a brisk pace the Clarke County School Board turned its attention to procurement and design of the 72’ by 22’ greenhouse that will be provided by Jaderloon Company.

The greenhouse structure will consist of a steel frame and polycarbonate enclosure system and will include a ventilation system that provides both heating and cooling.

Although the greenhouse will be delivered ready to assemble, CRA is assisting the school board with submission of formal construction documents for the building permit process and to determine final pricing from Jaderloon.

Included in CRA’s fees are location of the actual greenhouse site on school property, design fencing, adjust sidewalks and coordinate utilities including water, sewer, natural gas and power. CRA will also design the concrete slab for the greenhouse as well as the plumbing and electrical engineering services.

At last night’s meeting school board chaiman Robina Bouffault introduced an idea that she said could provide improved wireless service to school facilities as well as town and county government and citizens through the installation of wireless “Smartpoles”.

Smartpoles, provided by Milestone Communications of Reston, Virginia ( are wireless infrastructure towers erected near residential locations to provide both wireless service and minimize the visual impact of the facilities.   Milestone says that its facilities are safe and provide recurring revenue streams for local government.

At last nights meeting Bouffault said that by allowing Milestone to site their devices on school property CCPS would receive 40% of revenue generated from wireless customers using the towers.

According to Milestone’s website, “The wireless towers built by Milestone serves several important functions. First, it helps wireless companies such as AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint provide service to customers in hard to reach residential neighborhoods. Second, over $30,000 per year in recurring revenue is provided to the land owner, on each tower, providing a sustainable income stream to fund special initiatives.”

Milestone also says that communities benefit from the wireless infrastructure which enables technologies such as SmartGrid which depend on wireless coverage to connect with wireless electrical, water and gas meters.

SmartGrid allows utility companies can see in “real time” the consumption of energy and offer programs to facilitate conservation which lowers the carbon footprint.

Milestone’s website claims that “qualified students benefit from the wireless internet signal broadcast from the tower’s canopy antennas validating the benefit of having a stealth tower at a school location.”

While the Milestone wireless concept appears to be an innovative technology for expanding wireless access, no information was provided at last night’s meeting regarding whether such a service is actually needed to boost wireless reception in the Berryville area. The benefits and costs to students, if any, of using the service was also not discussed.

Bouffault and the school board will receive a presentation about Smartpole devices on December 20, 2010.

Cutting to grade in western portion of storm water management pond - Photo courtesy Urban Consulting

Cutting to grade in western portion of storm water management pond - Photo courtesy Urban Consulting

Installation of footings on north side of building - Photo courtesy Urban Consulting

Recently installed storm water management structure at west end of construction site - Photo courtesy Urban Consulting


  1. The school board should also look into whether the smart poles concept could service areas in the rest of the county beyond just the town of Berryville. There are many people in other parts of the county that want and need better Internet service

    • But those folks aren’t near the school, so those poles wouldn’t do them any good. Why should the school do what the county is supposed to do? Same as the water line upgrades the town forced the school board to do.

  2. Doesn’t sound like a bad idea. I would be interested in seeing the cost and benefit analysis taking into consideration the local population size and 3rd party provider (AT&T/Sprint/etc) use.

    Nice job Robina!