Price School high speed internet project on the road to completion
Price Elementary School, located on U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground and operated by Yuma Elementary School District #1, provides K-5 education to the families of the post. The school has been part of YPG since the 1950s, educating several thousand students over the years. (Photo Credit: Mark Schauer) VIEW ORIGINAL

Traffic in the eastbound lane of Imperial Dam Road might be slightly slower for a short time, but the learning opportunities for Price School’s student body will be speeding up.

Trenching operations are in progress to lay fiber optic cable from Yuma Elementary School District #1’s server to Price School, located on the main cantonment area of YPG.

“It will provide a faster, private internet connection for our school services,” said Christine McCoy, Yuma Elementary School District #1’s communications director.

All other District 1 schools have had this high speed connection for the past six years, but running fiber optic cable nearly 30 miles to Price School requires coordination, easements, and permits from multiple stakeholders and local governments, from the Bureau of Reclamation and Arizona Department of Transportation to the Union Pacific Railroad.

The project has been in the making since the summer of 2020, when the district received federal grant money to help fund it. Planning for running the cable on post at YPG also required coordination with YPG’s Department of Public Works.

“The Yuma School District #1 Technology Consortium Team and the YPG command worked diligently to get this much-needed upgrade at Price School,” said Keith Ware, Yuma Elementary School District #1 board member. “This will improve the learning environment for the children and increase the learning tools available for the teachers. The fiber connection will improve the school's capability to provide education in person and virtually.”

The improvements will be noticeable to students and teachers, officials say.

“Our in-classroom instruction is bolstered by digital learning: teachers use a lot of online programs to support the in-classroom learning, said McCoy. “Having a faster connection will be phenomenal for students’ classroom work.”

“We’re excited about it,” said Jarrod Norris, Price School’s principal. “Our district has been extremely vigilant in making sure our students have fast and secure access.”

The speed that the new connection provides is state of the art.

“It’s a 10 gigabit per second service,” said Dean Farar, Chief Information Officer of the Yuma Educational Technology Consortium. “It is really fast internet service. Ultimately, we are using a number of online-hosted services that teachers and students always need the internet for.”

The COVID pandemic showed that reliable high speed access for schools is a necessity in the modern day.

“It opens up opportunities that are only online,” Farar. “We have greater access to any virtual experience, and the speeds allow us to not be inhibited by slow internet issues.”

District 1 officials hope to have the cable completed in time for the start of the 2022-2023 school year.

“We are grateful to YPG’s command for helping us get to this point,” said Farar. “We recognize the partnership that we have with everyone there, and it’s great to see this project come to fruition.”