Students in science class

KIAH — Thanks to state and federal grants, Ukiah School is getting broadband.

According to an InterMountain Education Service District press release, the $7 million project will provide fiber connectivity between Pendleton and the Ukiah School District, not only one of the county’s smallest school districts, but also its most isolated. Ninety percent of the money is coming from the Federal Communications Commission’s E-Rate program while the rest is covered by an Oregon Department of Education grant.

“This is a huge, amazing win for students in our district who will have strong, reliable Internet connection for schoolwork and so much more,” Ukiah Superintendent Jim Reger said in a statement. “We so appreciate the dedication and hard work by IT staff at IMESD to help bring this opportunity to fruition.”

The IMESD credited IT staff Nick Lapp, Melinda Miller and Jen Thul with diligently working to secure funding for the project.

“This amazing group of IT employees has invested much over the last three years by writing letters, processing E-Rate special construction applications, crafting RFPs, applying for grants and more,” IMESD chief information officer Cheri Rhinhart said in a statement. “Because of their dedicated work, the Ukiah School District will soon have high-speed internet. Students in this rural and remote school will enjoy reliable access to online learning opportunities previously denied them because of very limited internet access.”

The education service district also reported the fiber project will take approximately a year to complete.