IC Provides Location for Tompkins County Emergency Communications Tower

05/20/2004

Contributed by Maureen Forrest

Ithaca College will serve as the location for a critical tower planned to be built as part of the new Tompkins County public safety communications network.

By using the South Hill site, fewer overall towers will be needed for the countywide project, potentially saving the county as much as $1 million.

"We are pleased to be able to collaborate with the county on this vital public safety project," says Carl Sgrecci, vice president for finance and administration. "This is a win-win situation for the community and for the College, saving taxpayer dollars while at the same time supporting a crucial improvement in the ability of emergency responders to communicate with one another."

Ithaca College currently hosts a transmitter for the Tompkins County emergency communications system located on the roof of the West Tower residence hall. That transmitter will be removed, and equipment for the upgraded network will be placed on a 180-foot tower to be built nearby on College-owned land leased by the county.

The new tower will also replace an existing 150-foot tower at the site, which holds the transmitters for WICB-FM 91.7 and a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather station. Those transmitters, along with one for Ithaca College's own public safety communications, will be moved to the new tower. Additional transmitters, such as those for cellular telephone communications, could also be located on the tower, further helping reduce the overall number of towers built in the area.

"The county very much appreciates the partnership with Ithaca College on sharing the tower and the ease with which a cooperative arrangement is progressing," says county administrator Stephen Whicher. "Without the College's help, we would have to look for a new site and build additional towers at a greater cost to taxpayers."

Construction of the tower is tentatively planned for this summer.

Contributed by Dave Maley

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