By Jeff Gallatin
School officials believe they got a winning hand when they chose to use the district’s first receipts from Horseshoe Casino Cleveland to set up a computer lab at Normandy School.
Daryl Stumph, assistant superintendent for operations for the Bay district, said Friday workers will be running tests this week on the new 50-computer lab in the school while students and staff are on spring break.
“We’ve essentially got most of the installation work done at this point,” he said. “We want to make sure everything is working properly at this point, so if there are any issues we can get them worked out now.”
District officials decided to put the bulk of the more than $50,000 in the first round of casino receipts into the new computer lab.
Stumph said if all goes well, school officials hope to be able to open the lab for use when the students and staff return next week.
“It’s something that we’re going to get a lot of use out of as a district,” he said. “It will be useful for classroom instruction as well as for testing and other related work.”
Stumph said the new lab has one immediate advantage over many other similar facilities.
“It has 50 computers in where most others still have 25 in them at this point,” he said. “That means we can get two classes in there at once. That will help when we’re working on some bigger projects.”
In addition to classroom instruction, Stumph said having an up-to-date and bigger computer lab will be an asset when it comes to testing district students.
“We have some new state mandates which we’re going to have to meet in terms of doing it online and other ways that it hasn’t been done before,” he said. “We’ll be able to do that better both in terms of having students better prepared to work on computers and to have more students actually taking the test at one time.”
Stumph said part of the district’s improvement plans, developed from the capital improvements bond levy district voters approved last November, included getting hardware and related equipment into district facilities like this.
Bay school board President Mike Caputo said having a new computer lab is good for the district.
“I’m excited about getting the chance to go back in and look at it when it’s completed,” he said. “I looked in on it last week and I heard from the superintendent that it’s just about complete.”
Caputo said the board is very aware of the need to have the educational tools available to keep district students on the cutting edge of learning technology. He said the new lab gives the district added versatility.
“My second-grader is learning to type in school right now,” he said. “It’s a different world, and they’re all learning all this right now.”
Caputo said the lab also is a good example of how the district intends to utilize future casino funds.
“It’s a great use of that money,” he said. “I think it’s a good policy to use this and any future money on some projects like this.”