State Sen. Ronald Stafford
State Sen. Ronald Stafford shares a laugh with State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno with the help of "a first-of-its-kind telecommunications network" now available at Champlain Valley Educational Services in Plattsburgh. The network links CVES in Plattsburgh with Franklin-Essex-Hamilton BOCES, The Sage Colleges in Albany and Albany Medical Center.

Schools, hospitals get system for Internet, teleconferencing

By MARCIA LANPHEAR Staff Writer

PLATTSBURGH - Getting a second medical opinion or learning another language could now be as easy as turning on a television set.
The Adirondack Area Network, a $1.36 million telecommunications system paid for by Bell Atlantic, was unveiled Friday.

"Distance is no longer a barrier," Champlain Valley Educational Services Superintendent James Briglin said.

He credited Sen. Ronald Stafford (R-Plattsburgh) with jump-starting the project, which will provide Internet access and video conferencing to schools in Clinton, Essex, Franklin and Hamilton counties and area hospitals at a reduced cost.

Stafford attended the unveiling ceremony, which linked officials from Plattsburgh, Franklin-Essex-Hamilton BOCES in Malone, The Sage Colleges in Albany and Albany Medical Center by video.

"The network will for- ever change the way we learn, do business and get information in New York state," said Jeanne Neff, president of The Sage Colleges.
"Distance is no longer a barrier,"

James Briglin
The savings that schools will reap by taking advantage of the technology is a boon, Plattsburgh City School District Superintendent George Amedore said.

The technology is offered to participants for between $750 and $900 a month, compared to the regular $100-per-hour rate.

Amedore said Internet access is the most important aspect now that the High School is embarking on a major renovation and technology upgrade.

"It's live; it's real. Kids can retrieve information they wouldn't have gotten near otherwise," he said.

Moriah Central School Superintendent Harold Bresett is looking forward to providing students with a wider range of curriculums.

Courses not offered by the school, such as accounting or a second language, could be accessed through other schools using the video-conferencing technology.
CVPH Medical Center in Plattsburgh has been using video-conferencing technology to speak with physicians across the country since last fall, Telemedicine Coordinator Linda Reh said.

In two instances, CVPH patients received a second opinion from specialists in other areas without leaving the hospital.

One case saved CVPH nearly $1,000 in transportation costs, she said.

"We may not have the specialist at our hospital, but with this technology we can find a physician with expertise in any field anywhere in the world," Reh said.