By FRANK SCHULTZ ( Contact ) Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009

JANESVILLE - The Janesville School District's long-awaited Web site upgrade is only days away.

The old Web site has numerous critics, who say it is difficult to navigate and provides much less information than the sites of many other school districts.

The criticisms might come to an end as a new Web site is opened to the public by the end of this month.

The Janesville School Board got a preview of the modern-looking Web site at its meeting Tuesday. Board members applauded after the presentation.

District information coordinator Sheryl Miller said the new site is visually appealing and easy to navigate.

Individual school pages will remain unchanged at the start but will be changed in the months ahead, Miller said.

Eventually, school board meeting minutes, policies and regulations will be posted on the site, Miller said.

Foremost Media of Janesville designed the site at a cost of about $33,300, said Doug Bunton, business director.

Foremost will be responsible for upgrading most of the schools' Web pages, although the high schools will take care of that themselves, Miller said. Foremost also will host the Web site on its servers.

The cost for the service will be $3,500 a month, Bunton said.

The old Web site was an in-house project and cost little to maintain, but the result was unsatisfactory to many.

"To really develop a quality product, the only avenue was to outsource," Bunton said.

MORE ONLINE

A new Janesville School District Web site is expected to go up later this month. To see the Web site it will replace, go to http://janesville.k12.wi.us.