The Columbia County school board signed off last week on a plan to start replacing LCD projectors in classrooms with interactive whiteboards.
Interactive whiteboards, such as the Promethean boards already used in some classrooms, essentially project a computer screen onto a colorless background called a whiteboard. Teachers can manipulate the images from the whiteboard, using audio and video files to accentuate lessons.
The interactive whiteboards cost about $1,800 each, about double the cost of LCD projectors, Superintendent Charles Nagle told the board.
However, Nagle said, the whiteboards are cheaper to maintain.
Still, considering the expense, Nagle said the whiteboards would be introduced to classrooms on an incremental basis or as LCD projectors break down.
Depending on available funding, in the general fund and the 1-percent sales tax, Nagle said the whiteboards could be added to two or three classrooms each year.
“It just makes common sense, (considering) where we’re going in a technological sense,” board member Mike Sleeper said.
Many classrooms in the system already use the technology to great effect, officials said.
Also at the meeting, a group wishing to build an arts and science center in Evans asked the school board to consider leasing them part of the property at Bel Air Elementary School.
The group wishing to build the Arts and Resource Center said they’d like to build the facility on a 5-acre site in the northeast corner of the 16-acre property, near wetlands.
Nagle said there are “tremendous legal questions to ask ... before we travel further down that road.”
The board has said they intend to sell the school property, located on a major commercial corridor along North Belair Road, after the school possibly closes in 2014.
Once construction concludes on new Evans and Martinez elementary schools, students currently zoned for Bel Air Elementary will be divided among those new, larger schools.