Cell tower to bring benefits for community, USD 204
A new addition to Bonner Springs High School, unanimously approved during Monday night’s USD 204 Board of Education meeting, will benefit the community and the district as a whole.
The board unanimously approved a 10-year contract with Verizon Wireless for a 150-foot cell tower to be installed on the high school grounds just south of the tennis courts. Under the contract terms, Verizon would pay $1,500 a month to the district. Additionally, Superintendent Robert VanMaren said, the district could see more funds if any other wireless providers, such as AT&T or Sprint, wished to add antennas to the tower. He said there was space for several additional antennas and each company would pay the district $250 a month to use space on the tower.
The tower will improve cell phone reception and provide faster data streaming, offering 4G wireless coverage to customers living within a 5-mile radius of the tower, VanMaren said.
“It’s going to make a big difference for the customers around here,” he said.
All funds paid to the district will go to the BSHS Education Foundation, which provides scholarships and grants to BSHS students and teachers.
This would be the second Verizon Wireless cell tower located on district grounds. Verizon had installed a shorter, 80-85-foot tower in the 2009-2010 school year at Delaware Ridge Elementary, under the same contract terms as those on the table Monday night. That cell tower provides 3G coverage, but could be updated to provide the faster 4G coverage, VanMaren said.
VanMaren said the location at BSHS in which the cell tower would be installed, just south of the BSHS tennis courts, was the best choice as it was far enough away from the school to not district from anything and would blend in well with the grove of trees growing in the area.
“It really is just a great place in terms of it doesn’t disrupt anything, really,” visibility-wise, VanMaren said.
Board member Tim McGinnis questioned the safety of the location, however, as the cell tower would be installed in the vicinity of several telephone wires. Jeff Konkel, representative for Verizon who was on hand during the meeting to answer any questions, said the cell tower would be installed at a safe distance of about 30 feet away from any telephone wiring.
The contract for the cell phone tower still has to go before the Bonner Springs Planning Commission and the Bonner Springs City Council before installation can take place. Barring any issues there, VanMaren said he thought it would be up and running by spring or summer 2012.
In other action Monday night, the board:
• Unanimously approved the adoption of the agenda.
• Unanimously approved the minutes from the Oct. 3 meeting.
• Unanimously approved warrants totaling $336,307.
• Unanimously approved the treasurer and clerk’s report.
• Approved 6-1, with member Olliea Jarrett opposed, addendums to the contracts of Candice Border, Valerie Lane and Hazel Pinks, food service workers at Delaware Ridge Elementary. The approval cuts Lane’s hours by 30 minutes per day and both Pinks’ and Border’s hours by one hour per day. Charles Thomas, board attorney, said the cuts were made because “it was felt that they could cut an hour and still get everything done … that needs to be done.”
Jarrett said following the meeting she had voted against the cuts because, given phone calls she had received from some of the food service workers prior to the meeting, she didn’t feel the reason behind the cuts had been communicated properly to them.