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

The vacuum excavation and utilities locating phase of the installation assembly precedes the arrival of horizontal directional drills. In this job, Schick employed a combination approach, using two popular drills manufactured by Vermeer: D20x22 Series II Navigator Tier 3i (Stage III) and D24x40 Series II Navigator.
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“We have a directional drill specialist and tie-in crews that use mini excavators and small dump trucks to ready all tie-ins,” Schick says. “They tie together the conduits after the boring is completed, and set hand holes at specific locations along the route for pull points and/or tie-ins for laterals.”

After that phase of the underground installation “assembly” is complete, Schick’s fiberoptic installation crews move into action, to actually install the fiber by either blowing or pulling through the conduit. Next, a restoration team goes back in and reseeds grass and sod, replacing any possible damaged landscaping.

“Finally, we have inside building crews – guys that do inside plant work, installing conduits and fiber from the building entry point to the telecommunications room,” Schick says. “We then have our fiber splicing crew splice, terminate test and certify the fiber routes.”

“At each one of those phases, we have people that specialize in that,” Schick says. “As a result, we felt like we are able to deliver a better quality product to our customer, because each crew is trained and serves as specialists in the specific phase of the installation assembly they serve. Thus, they can do a better quality job.”

That’s the plan
While Schick credits much of the success of the USD 233 fiberoptic installation job to a solid plan established by personnel with SureWest and the city of Olathe school district, he also credits an open and effective line of communication between his own personnel. “The combination of all working together – and effective communication among all parties throughout the process – was significant for completing the job successfully, on-time and on-budget,” he says.

“I can’t really point to any one thing that we didn’t anticipate on this project. It’s right here in our own backyard so we pretty much knew what we were getting into. The congested nature of the right-of-ways was probably our biggest challenge; and a lot of the reason for choosing the Vermeer drills. We really like the thrust limiters, specifically when we’re drilling rock or sandstone.”