Debate over proposed Creston School WiFi tower

Posted at 9:19 AM, Aug 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-24 11:19:22-04

CRESTON – A proposed plan to build a 118-foot-tall mono-poll to improve internet access for Creston School continues to stir controversy as supporters argue it is needed to improve student learning, while locals are concerned about potential health risks.

The WiFi tower was supposed to be the solution to the unreliable and inconsistent internet, however, with the first day of school rapidly approaching there is still no resolution to the problem.

"We have six computers in my classroom that we use every day. Each one of my students has an iPad that they have access to all day long we use it all day every day," fifth grade teacher Ariann Hess said.

School is starting next week but for Hess, who wants her students to reach their full potential there’s still a concern because the school doesn’t have reliable WiFi internet.

"The goal for every school and every teacher is to make your kid college and career ready and so without reliable internet access it’s hard to keep Creston School running at the same level that kids in other districts are able to get," Hess told MTN News.

The school is operating at 15 megabytes much lower than the recommended 100 by the EducationSuperHighway. In order to solve the issue, Creston School has proposed building a 118-foot WiFi Tower about 1,200 feet away from the current school.

But not all agree that’s the answer — especially those who live near the proposed tower site.

"My major concern here with this tower going up is health with food and radiation on our livestock," neighbor Kingsley Rogers said.

"The Realtors say that the properties are staying on the market longer if they’re in the vicinity of a tower and they drop down their value by up to 20-to-22%," said fellow neighbor Hanna Kukla.

Creston School principal Tammy Ward says they understand there is opposition and hope to find a resolution.

"We did explore alternatives. This has been a multi-month process of using the EducationSuperHighway to explore getting fiber in our school and we felt like this was the most fiscally responsible for our community that would provide our students with the education tools that they need," Ward explained.

Creston School is collecting public comment on the proposal through 5 p.m. on August 30th.