Future of cable TV uncertain

by Jay Krehbiel | 5/4/98 5:00am

The College has not yet made a decision about providing cable service to residence hall rooms next fall, but the service is still possible, although "time is running out," Dean of the College Lee Pelton said Friday.

Pelton said he would support cable in students' rooms under certain conditions: the programming should have some educational elements, the College must be able to afford the cost of renovations and service and proceeding with cable must not prevent the College from completing other important projects.

College officials previously told The Dartmouth that May 1 was the deadline for the College to make the decision if cable service would be implemented for the fall.

"I think that May 1 is not a drop-dead date. The May 1 date is a date the College had assumed to begin the process of introducing cable if we wanted it by Fall term," Pelton said.

The College has contacted nine cable companies to submit cost outlines, but they will not return their offers for at least a week.

When the College receives the bids, it will be able to decide if the project is financially feasible, Pelton said.

"I would assume once we know what the costs are and how those costs impact other priorities then we can proceed to make a decision," he said.

Director of Residential Operations Woody Eckels previously told The Dartmouth he expected the price to install and provide cable service to be $200,000 to $300,000.

The cost of cable would be paid for by the Office of Residential Life, which currently has multiple projects on its agenda, including life-safety improvements, residence hall construction projects and room decompression.

The life-safety improvements and other ORL projects "have a higher priority than cable" so it would be an issue of whether the already overtaxed budget could support cable this year, Pelton said.

The decision to proceed will need to be made soon, he said, but "we don't have answers to that question right now."