According to Mark Stanton, WCSD chief capital projects and facilities management officer, no parents have come forward to voice concerns of the potential health impacts of a cell phone tower located on school grounds.
“No parents have come forward recently,” Stanton told the board. “It’s been clearly documented that the cell towers do not produce any health hazards.”
The WCSD currently receives income from property leases for cell towers at six school sites, including one at Reed High. The incomes from these tower sites range from $7,000 to a little more than $14,000 per year.
Complete Wireless Consultants, representing Verizon Wireless, approached the school district recently about leasing a cellular communications site at the Reed High football stadium. One existing light standard would be replaced with a new standard to accommodate a cellular antenna array and a 20-foot by 30-foot pad would be constructed to enclose an equipment cabinet and emergency generator.
The board on Tuesday approved a minimum lease rate of $14,300 for the Reed High School site, which is in line with the lease rate for the current Reed tower, with 3 percent annual escalation.
Trustee Barbara Clark made a motion to approve the lease agreement with the following terms:
1. Three percent annual escalation (Verizon proposed 10 percent per term).
2. Verizon will make an optional payment of $2,500 upon execution of the lease.
3. Verizon cannot modify the tower structure without consent of the school, such consent not to be unreasonably withheld (Verizon could make changes in its lease area as it sees fit).
4. Verizon to provide a copy of the full construction drawings prior to construction for the school’s approval at its sole discretion.
5. Restriction of regular maintenance access to non-school hours (emergency access shall be 24/7 with as much notice as possible).
6. Termination with six months notice (Verizon proposed three months).
7. Verizon to be responsible for any taxes attributable to its lease or improvements (sales, real property, personal property as applicable).
8. Lessor may install any equipment that it deems necessary in its sole discretion for the operation of the school (Verizon proposal restricts your use of equipment).
9. No subleasing or assignment in part (Verizon proposal is silent on subleasing and allows assignment in part).
10. School district may sell its property as it sees fit (Verizon attempts to limit the sale of school property by adding right of first refusal).
The motion passed unanimously, but not after some discussion about where income from cell towers should go. Clark said she wants money from cell tower lease sites to go to the district’s general fund.
“I would like to at some point discuss the cell tower monies going into the general fund,” Clark said, rather than to the individual school sites.
WCSD in 2008 adopted resolutions for the lease of a cellular communication site and a ground lease for a communication antenna at Sparks High School. Those resolutions have resulted in almost $20,000 in revenue annually.