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RSF Association approves $168,832 engineering study

RANCHO SANTA FE — The Rancho Santa Fe Association’s April 6 board meeting approved a $168,832 engineering design study for its high-speed fiber-optic network project. Board member and chair of the Tech Committee, Rick Sapp, said it was anticipated the permit-ready design would take three months to complete.

According to Sapp, four bids from qualified engineering firms were received following the Association’s RFP (request for proposal).

Each vendor was examined by the Tech Committee to make a selection, Sapp said. They then asked the finance committee for an allocation of $168,832 for the design study.

“I’m here to ask the board to ratify the decision by the finance committee,” Sapp said.

The board approved the allocation and selected Henkels & McCoy as the vendor to provide the engineering design for the fiber network. Also referred to as H&M, the Association pointed out that the company is considered a leading utility construction firm providing infrastructure for communications, power, oil and gas pipeline, and gas distribution in North America.

The company also ranks among the nation’s top engineering specialty contractors.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Covenant resident Suzy Schaefer wanted to know if the engineering design would involve fiber to the home.

The board conveyed that was the purpose. The design was for fiber network to pass along the streets, near homes and with the goal of supplying the closest access.

Association President Fred Wasserman explained how there would be 65 miles of conduit and fiber optic cable going through the Ranch, which would be passing every house on a public street.

“There’s no question that is the design,” he said.

The reason for the engineering study, Wasserman said, was the Association needed to determine the actual cost to do this project. Also part of the study were detailed drawings for a permit-ready design.

A thorough analysis would be provided, he said.

According to Wasserman, following the engineering study, they will move forward to get bids on building the network. From there, it would go out to a community-wide vote. However, it was noted that the Association has not set a date for a member vote on the project.

Providing some background if the network was approved, the project construction completion is estimated to take anywhere from 18 to 30 months; and, individual homeowners would have to pay to connect to the 1-gigabit network.

“We will be the most connected community in San Diego County,” Wasserman said.

The Association president also wanted everyone to know how children living in the Ranch were having challenges doing their homework because of their inability to connect to the internet. Wasserman called this a serious project on which the board was focusing much of their resources.

Sapp added that the end goal was to provide a network service to every member which would, in turn, make property values more attractive as opposed to the current connectivity situation. It was up to each resident whether they wanted to connect to the network.

Bringing a high-speed fiber-optic network to the Covenant is being considered a community asset, which will serve each member.

According to Christy Whalen, the Association’s assistant manager, looking ahead, the next step will be issuing an RFP for internet service providers.

During the course of the monthly meeting, the board of directors approved the resignation of Kim Eggleston on the Tech Committee and the appointment of Janet Danola.

The board approved the motion effective immediately.