The Partners in Wireless initiative consists of five phases, according to Nancy Bridgman of the Neighborhood Housing Partnership, with complete coverage of the Wittenberg campus by the end of 2008. The five phases will eventually extend wireless accessibility to both the downtown and Leffel Lane Clark State Community College campuses, all Springfield City Schools, and, upon its construction, the new hospital campus.
Lin Erickson, director of government, corporate and foundation relations, said the university's involvement will help satisfy part of the strategic plan.
"Providing wireless internet access to the College Hill Neighborhood provides leverage for investment into the gateway neighborhood around Wittenberg," she said, adding that Goal G of the plan calls for a "comprehensive technology strategy," including wireless access across campus.
In addition to coverage of the area in and around Wittenberg, the Partners in Wireless plan calls for complete downtown accessibility to provide businesses and employees the accessibility they need.
"Around the world with wireless there's been an emergence of the empowered individual worker where you no longer need to be in an office in a big corporation," Bridgman said.
Mobile workers are more productive than stationary workers, she said, because of the ability to be connected to the world at all times. Bridgman believes that workers who take the internet with them are becoming more prevalent.
"We think that mobile workers are going to be [the standard]," she said. "It really already is that way."
In addition to providing the wireless access, Wittenberg is involved in a special project involving a public school in Springfield.
"We are modeling ideas from a Bethlehem, Pa. school district that provides laptops to its students," Erickson said. "Wittenberg has made a commitment to raise money to give computers to use the network to Hayward Middle School's sixth-graders."
In keeping with the Springfield wireless initiative, Wittenberg has renewed its effort to connect all of campus with its own network, according to Wittenberg Director of Computing Services Joseph Deck.
"We are going to be conducting a site survey to determine where to put access points in order to provide the greatest coverage without overlap," he said. "Commencement Hollow and Carnegie Hall will be the first to receive complete wireless coverage this summer, thanks to a federal grant providing the funds to do that."
Wireless access will be provided by Harborlink, a wireless Internet specialist, and will be paid for by advertisements. All hardware maintenance and support will be covered by the company, and bandwidth is being donated by many of the partners in the initiative, including Wittenberg.
Other partners include Avetec, Center City Association, the City of Springfield, Clark State Community College, Community Mercy Health Partners, Neighborhood Housing Parternship, Metropolitan Housing Authority and the Turner Foundation.
Written By: John Strawn
Photo By: Robbie Gantt
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