CENTREVILLE — Public schools and some of the county buildings are now connected by fiber-optic cables as part of a statewide initiative to connect all of the 1,094 “community anchor institutions.” These include community colleges, 911 centers and public libraries, as well as schools.
The upgrade, effective July 1, provides an increase in bandwidth for internal connections, a centralized firewall and Internet content filtering. Other benefits include connection to the statewide intergovernmental network and greater security than the radio system previously used.
“Radio signals can be intercepted, and even though they may be encrypted and the data is safe, there is software out there that could possibly be used to de-encrypt it,” Karl Hagelin, coordinator of information management for Queen Anne's schools, said in a news release. “With the fiber optic connectivity, they would have to go to the termination site and plug into our network. These sites are in secure locations,” he added.
The network will include the county's department of public works, the 911 center, the board of education, the state's attorney's office and the Liberty Building government headquarters.
Three aggregation sites were necessary to accommodate the county government, emergency services and the school system, according to Hagelin. The sites are in Sudlersville, Safety Drive in Centreville, and Kent Island at Matapeake. They will provide the “backbone core” of the network, he said.
The total cost of the statewide project is estimated to be $158,416,521; most of the funding is coming from grants. Maryland received $1,639,000 in grant money for the Queen Anne's portion of the project. Local allocations for one-time equipment purchases are $301,463 from the county and $141,636 from the board of education.
Hagelin said the recurring costs associated with switching to fiber optics are going to be about $49,730 to lease the fiber, which includes any maintenance that may be required; $30,000 for access to the Internet service provider, which will provide 200 megabits per second and two gigabit ethernet ports for a primary and standby configuration; $40,800 for network monitoring and maintenance; and $17,201 for equipment warranty.
According to Hagelin, since the project provides a benefit to the entire county, the recurring costs have been budgeted for as a line item in the county's budget.
In Other Headlines:
•The Queen Anne's County Department of Planning and Zoning will host what is being billed as a “community outreach” meeting on Wednesday, July 10 at its headquarters at 160 Coursevall Drive, Centreville. The public is encouraged to attend the meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. Staff will review the concept plan for a new government office building.
County-owned property across the roadway from Queen Anne's County High School has been selected for a complex that will provide office space for the department of planning and zoning, the state's attorney and the board of elections. It will replace space that is being leased by the county and other antiquated buildings that will be razed in downtown Centreville for construction of a county courthouse.
At next week's meeting there will be displays for public review that show the site layout, the building's footprint, parking zones and building elevations. The purpose of the meeting is to collect citizen comment regarding the proposed site, which is located within the town limits of Centreville.
For more information, contact County Administrator Gregg Todd at 410-758-4098.
•Every public school in Queen Anne's County received a Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports gold banner from the Maryland State Department of Education for the 2012-2013 academic year – a first for Queen Anne's and a first for the state.
Queen Anne's also is the only district in the state to have all of its schools participate in the PBIS program, where the emphasis is on improving student academic and behavior outcomes.
Four schools moved from silver to gold this year: Anchor Points Academy, which is the district's alternative school, Matapeake elementary and middle schools, and Queen Anne's County High School.
•Sidney Pinder is the newly appointed director of operations for the school district. He had been the supervisor of school facilities for Queen Anne's County Public Schools since 2010.
Pinder earned a Bachelor of Science in physical education from Salisbury University in 1994, and a master's degree in school administration and supervision from Salisbury in 2003.
He began his career with the school district here in 1995 as a physical education teacher at Kent Island Elementary School. He also has been a physical education teacher at Centreville Elementary School, coordinator of the summer migrant school (1998-2005) and coordinator of energy management (2005-2010).
He assumed his new position July 1.
Sidney Pinder lives in Greensboro with his wife April and their two daughters. April Pinder teaches at Church Hill Elementary School.
•The annual Centreville Alive Flashback Block Party will be held on Friday, July 19 on west Water Street – in front of An Optical Galleria. The street will close for setup at 5:30 p.m.; the block party will run from 6 to 9 p.m.
There will be a dance contest, a hula hoop contest, face painting, henna tattoos, and games for children. The Blueskeepers Band is returning as the musical entertainment.
While admission is free, a participation fee will be charged for the games. Proceeds from the games will benefit local nonprofits.
Refreshments will be sold.
Local businesses sponsor the block party.
•By unanimous vote, the Centreville Town Council OK'd wine tasting at the twice-weekly farmers market. “With the state now allowing wineries to sell their product at farmers markets, one of the issues that came up was tastings,” said council President George “Smokey” Sigler.
The farmers market is held from 3 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.
•McKenzie Woodward, 15, collected 186 pairs of eyeglasses, from four Queen Anne's County schools, to support the Centreville Lions Club's “Recycle for Sight” program. The Centreville teenager created colorful collection bags, which she placed in the front offices at Queen Anne's County High School (70 pairs collected), Centreville Elementary School (49 pairs), Centreville Middle School (38 pairs) and Kennard Elementary School (29 pairs).
The donated eyeglasses will be distributed in developing countries where eye care for many people is unaffordable and inaccessible.