TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Thousands of Vigo County School Corporation students and community members in the most underserved regions will soon have easier access to broadband.
Vigo County will see 84 new broadband hot spots as a new project aims to expand internet services for students.
The Vigo County School Corporation, the City of Terre Haute, and Vigo County will invest around $4 million.
The school corporation’s WiFi network is being extended beyond just the 30 local school corporation properties and out into 44 locations where special construction was funded by Vigo County and 40 locations where special construction was funded by the City of Terre Haute.
The Vigo County School Corporation, Vigo County, City of Terre Haute and Joink, LLC celebrated this milestone with a groundbreaking Thursday.
Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch was the featured speaker for the event. Other speakers included Superintendent Rob Haworth, Commissioner Brendan Kearns, Mayor Duke Bennett and Joink, LLC representative Josh Zuerner.
With the State of Indiana already investing heavily into broadband connection, Lt. Governor Crouch said Terre Haute’s latest groundbreaking stems from issues discovered last year.
“Connecting people in Indiana is absolutely critical. We saw that through COVID with our workers teleworking, and students E-learning, and healthcare being delivered by telehealth, being connected is no longer a luxury. It’s absolutely essential,” Crouch said.
According to Haworth, expanding the corporation’s Wi-Fi connectivity was due to the result of students struggling to access their remote learning tools.
“What we found through surveying was that our data was coming back and just showing we truly have an access problem,” Haworth said.
Kearns said project officials and Joink prioritized creating hotspots in areas with the highest needs for broadband.
The goal is to give students more options for internet access.
“We sat down and saw where key areas in the community would be considered community centers or easy places for people to go. For example, fire houses. Almost every township has a firehouse that’s known as a community center,” Kearns said.
Aligning with the need for internet, is the hope broadband internet will lead to more sustainable community growth.
“We’re thinking of that as job creation, economic development, economic opportunities. That’ll really again will help retain and attract people to Vigo County,” Haworth said.
WiFi hotspots are planned for the following areas:
- Fowler Park
- Prairie Creek Park
- Hawthorn Park
- Chamberlain Road
- Old Mill Dam Park
- Pierson Volunteer Fire Department
- Prairieton Fire – Prairie Creek Station
- Vigo County Sheriff’s Office
- Honey Creek Fire Department
- Otter Creek Fire Department
- Sugar Creek Fire N Arms Place
- Honey Creek Fire Department No. 91
- Honey Creek Fire Department No. 93
- Honey Creek Fire Department No. 94
- Nevins Twp Fire Department
- New Goshen Volunteer Fire Dept
- Otter Creek Fire Department Sta. 2
- Otter Creek Fire Department Sta. 3
- Prairieton Fire District
- Riley Volunteer Fire Department
- Seelyville Fire Department
- Shepardsville Fire Department
- Sugar Creek Fire Department
- West Terre Haute Police Department
- Blackhawk Community Center
- Griffin Bike Park
- Lewis Wren House Community Center
- Prairie Creek Community Center
- Farmersburg (location TBD)
- Vigo County Fair Grounds
- Wabash Valley Tumbling & Gymnastics
- Delish Café
- Diamond Complex
- Taylorville (location TBD)
- Friends of Seelyville Walking Trail
- Town of Seelyville Park
- Wear Terre Haute (location TBD)
- Riley Lions Club Community Center
- North Terre Haute Little League
- Vigo County Youth Soccer Assoc.
- Wabash Valley Family Sports Center
- West Terre Haute Library
- West Terre Haute Little League
- West Vigo Community Center