FLORENCE — Pinal County officials are looking to add 35 communications towers to expand broadband to rural areas within the county.
County Grants Administrator Tami Ryall told the Board of Supervisors Wednesday that her office had been working for months on a proposal for delivering wireless internet service to as much of the rural community as possible.
“Many parts of the county don’t have adequate internet service,” Ryall said. “What that means for us is students are falling behind. The fire chief in Oracle says they don’t have enough juice to do a Zoom call. I think this is unacceptable.”
Ryall noted that in addition to education, the pandemic created the need to make telemedicine services available. The office also coordinated with county school districts to determine where students are located in order to create a better model of service areas.
“We’ve created more maps than you could ever want,” Ryall joked.
According to Ryall’s presentation, the fiber network completed in June, which includes over 300 miles of cables connecting schools and libraries, provides a strong starting point with which to further build out a wireless network.
The grant proposal team recommended adding 35 60-foot fixed wireless towers around the county. Although the cost would be $8.8 million over six months to build the towers, the team recommended a $2 million pilot program along the Copper Corridor, building the first seven towers between Superior and Oracle.
Ryall suggested the county offer to pay for the pilot program as a good-faith way to secure the remaining funding through grants, such as COVID-based earmarks or applications via the Arizona Commerce Authority.
“I can’t think of a better way of improving quality of life for the community than expanding internet,” Ryall said.
ELOY — Allen Rogers wears a lot of hats.
On top of his role as an Arizona Ranger, Rogers serves as both the superintendent and a resource officer for the Picacho Elementary School District as well.
During the Arizona City Chamber of Commerce luncheon July 21 at the Tumbleweed Inn in Eloy, Rogers spoke about what motivated him to serve his community in more ways than one. Read more here......
The Pinal County School Superintendent’s Office was originally established in 1914 by the authority of the Arizona State Constitution. As an Educational Service Agency there is a long history of providing assistance to the school districts in Pinal County. Our organization is committed to working cooperatively with agencies throughout the state in identifying and serving the educational needs in Pinal County. We strive to accomplish this through leadership and partnering to offer a wide range of educator and student centered services. Today, the roles and responsibilities have changed significantly as society, educational requirements and economics have changed. However, the ultimate goal of each service and program offered is to improve the quality of learning opportunities provided to over 51,000 students and 6,300 employees that attend or work at public school districts in Pinal County.