Albert Lea High School adopts new technology
Posted Fri, Nov 11, 2022 at 9:00pm
The digital display, first discussed more than a year ago, has been trending around Albert Lea High School in the last month, and students are wondering why.
“Neil [Skaar] Talk to me when I first entered the building [in July 2021]said high school principal Chris Dibble.
The first thing Skaar came up with: digital displays.
“As a wrestling official, I have time to walk around and see what’s going on in the match. [other] school buildings,” said Skaar, a representative of the Albert Lea Educational Foundation and a member of the school board. A timeline of events taking place and their relevance is constantly scrolling throughout the building. “
He thinks they will be useful in high school.
“As soon as the last school year started, I started digging into the process,” Dibble said. “We’ve had some different offers from a couple of different companies.”
But as fate would have it, two ALHS Class of 1995 graduates — Scott and Jen Erickson — own a display company, TouchPros. The pair contacted Dibble, and the project launched last winter.
“They gave us a really good deal,” Skaer said.
The role of the Educational Foundation is to find donors who can make a significant financial contribution to the project. The Foundation did it: Dale Larson. Larson, a Distinguished Alumnus inducted in 2008, is the founder of Larson Manufacturing. Larson graduated in the Class of ’56.
“Larson contributed $25,000,” Scull said.
According to Dibble, between Larson’s contribution and Ericksons’ proposal, the school has a very affordable high-end display system.
When all is said and done, there will be ten 43-inch monitors, two 45-inch monitors, and a 65-inch touchscreen in the building.
“It really adds a touch of class to the building,” Dibble said. “Communication is one of our big cornerstones, so to have the latest technologically advanced stuff in our buildings so students can be more aware of what’s going on.”
He also sees the displays as a way for students to connect with the community.
Plaques commemorating the characters hang on the walls, but Scull said they are difficult to read and are only available at schools.
“Now we have huge display boards where you can find information about these honored athletes, educators and alumni in much more detail than you can see from those plaques,” he said.
With the exception of announcements, menus and news, each yearbook is accessible, although they are currently being scanned. Sports team and event announcements will also appear on the screen. People will be able to use their smartphones to contribute images via QR codes and send them via email.
“This is a major work in progress,” Dibble said. “There’s a lot of information to put in there.”
When complete, there will be one display in each locker compartment, three in the cafeteria, four in each of the upper and lower E-houses, and one at each front door, according to Dibble. He has no timetable for when the installation will be completed.
The displays were supposed to be installed on July 31, but due to supply chain issues, the screens didn’t actually arrive until late September. Although they haven’t all been installed yet, they’ve drawn attention.
“Kids were like, ‘What’s up with all the TV,'” he said. “We were like, ‘Oh, we’ll do it, you’ll see.
The displays are also accessible online at albertlea.touchpros.com.
“It’s going to be a site with more content,” Scull said. “It will have the same content as on our website that is relevant to our programs, but it will have information of interest to the public and students.”
Dibble estimates the total cost of the project at $15,000, and he says an additional $10,000 from Larson, along with funding from the educational foundation, will go toward maintenance. Taxpayer money will not fund the project.
“It’s great to have people like this wanting to come back and help the communities they grew up in,” Dibble said.
He would also like to thank the Ericksons and Larson for making this project possible.