The Urbandale Community School District (UCSD) is a suburban district outside Des Moines, Iowa. In 2018, a $59 million bond referendum was approved for two new elementary school buildings and an addition to the high school. Once the construction had been completed, the stakeholders discovered a critical need for cell coverage throughout the buildings. Ensuring cellular connectivity was important for staff, parents, and students.
According to the Information Systems Director, three or four bids were received from systems integrators to mitigate the signal coverage issue starting with Olmsted Elementary. The CFO and School Superintendent clearly expected the project to be awarded to a local area integrator of distributed antenna systems (DAS).
Instead, the project was awarded to RSRF, a nationwide provider of cellular DAS solutions. The project specification required service coverage for AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular. The bid from RSRF included equipment from ADRF to deliver an all-carrier service and to support future service technology needs such as 5G, CBRS and IoT.
In the early 1980s, Iowa community colleges had the foresight and vision to experiment with educational networks for distance learning. By the end of 1999, a fiber network was completed connecting schools, libraries, and area education agencies across the state with fiber. This fiber connectivity enables future technologies to be deployed such as a cellular DAS.
Based on the success of Olmsted Elementary School, the decision was made to enhance cellular service for nearby Urbandale Elementary, Middle and High school facilities. All four of these school buildings are connected with signal-mode fiber.
Funding was set aside for the new DAS project. Due to the large size of the three school buildings (608,000 square feet), additional funding was allocated from the summer projects budget. A concern for the safety and security of students, teachers and administrators, as well as parents, demonstrated the need for, and approval of, the project.
RSRF has been honored to ensure the safety of children and teaching staff in Urbandale.