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HCC considers cell tower

February 16, 2005|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

wandaw@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown Community College officials are negotiating with a company that wants to install a monopole cell tower on the campus.

If approved, the tower would resemble a flag pole and could be 60 to 80 feet tall, college president Guy Altieri told the college's board of trustees at a meeting Tuesday.

In the fall, HCC was approached by Shenandoah Mobile Co., of Edinburg, Va., about leasing space on campus for the tower, Altieri said.

Unlike cell towers of the past, monopole towers are unobtrusive, he said.

"Most residents would not see the pole. Most of the antenna is inside the pole, not hanging on the pole," he said.

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Under the proposal, Shenandoah Mobile would pay the college a monthly leasing fee of $1,200, but Altieri said the long-term benefits outweigh any financial gain.

"As technology advances, the tower will be a good place as data services emerge for students on campus to have wireless broadband data right to their personal devices," said board of trustee vice chairman Anton T. Dahbura.

The tower also would improve cellular reception on the campus, which would increase safety for students attending evening classes, said board trustee William J. Reuter.

The tower would be behind HCC's baseball field and would be barely visible to homes nearby, trustees said.

The college also is in talks with Washington County officials, who might consider using the tower to expand services for the county's new emergency communications system, Altieri said.

Altieri said several details remain to be ironed out over the next six weeks before the college enters into a formal lease contract with Shenandoah Mobile Co. Residents who own property adjacent to the campus will be sent letters explaining the cell tower's benefits to the campus and the community, officials said.

Shenandoah Mobile Co. is owned by Shentel Telecommunications, a Sprint PCS affiliate, said company attorney Johnathan Spencer.

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