School District Goes Underground To Enhance Internet Connectivity

Utilizing HDD, Project Connects 44 Schools, Admin Buildings With Fiber
December 2013, Vol. 68 No. 12
Rex Schick, K&W Underground

When USD 233 – more commonly known as the Olathe, KS, Public School District – was formed in 1965 by consolidating five smaller districts, enrollment totaled 3,687 students. Since then, it has grown every year and is now the second largest of all the school districts in Kansas. The 2013 school year began with more than 29,000 students attending classes at the four high schools, nine middle schools and 35 elementary school buildings that compose the district.

While many of the buildings within the Olathe district received some type of improvement over the summer break, all students, faculty and administrators – regardless of which facility they frequent – are beneficiaries of a noticeable enhancement in broadband Internet connectivity and performance completed recently.

That’s because for the past year, trenchless crews with K&W Underground, Olathe, have been busy installing an elaborate network – nearly 100,000 feet in all – of high quality fiberoptic cable. The objective of the year-long fiber installation project is to increase bandwidth for all facilities within the network of Olathe public schools, and connect all of the district’s buildings via an elaborate underground fiberoptic network of enhanced quality and connection speed.

K&W Underground was hired by project owner SureWest, a consolidated communications company with offices in nearby Lenexa, KS, Los Angeles and Sacramento, CA. SureWest provides a variety of products and technology services to both commercial and residential customers via an extensive underground fiberoptic network. Rex Schick, president of K&W Underground, credits the detailed installation plan, developed by SureWest well in advance of any work beginning, as an integral factor that contributed to the overall success of the job.
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“The value of proper planning certainly came into play several times throughout the underground installation phase,” Schick says. “SureWest did a wonderful job of planning this project from the beginning. Working together with the Olathe School District, their engineering staff completed initial route surveys, which allowed them to develop a detailed design that included how to get from point A to point B, all underground. We had a good, solid plan to work from, which was a huge help from day one.

“They broke the project down into different phases that gave us targets, target completion dates, etc.,” Schick says. “K&W Underground had to implement and execute the plan, and schedule our crews and equipment to be able to accomplish those milestones.”