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District dials up cell tower plan
Meetings for public input begin Monday
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Forsyth County News
If you’re going

The community meetings on the cell phone tower proposal are as follows:

• Riverwatch Middle School: 7 p.m. Monday in cafeteria

• Vickery Creek Middle School: 7 p.m. Feb. 8 in cafeteria

• Kelly Mill Elementary School: 5 p.m. Feb. 11 at Forsyth County Board of Education Office

• On the Net:
The Forsyth County school system is calling for public input about cell towers on school campuses.

T-Mobile has proposed towers for Vickery Creek and Riverwatch middle schools, as well as Kelly Mill Elementary, which has not been built.

Each school will hold a community meeting on the proposal in the weeks ahead. The first session is set for Monday at Riverwatch.

The 30-year leases could each generate about $150,000 every five years for the district, which likely will face additional funding cuts from the state this year.

District spokeswoman Jennifer Caracciolo said the school board first reviewed the proposal in November and has shared the information online and at the superintendent’s advisory meetings.

“The feedback we have received from the initial communication has been positive, but we would like to also hear from parents and community neighbors that are directly impacted by the placement of the towers,” she said.

Representatives from T-Mobile, which wants to improve its coverage in the area, and the school system will field concerns and questions at the meetings.

Public input will help the board make a final decision in the spring, Caracciolo said.

Bob Slaughter, founder of Smart Growth Forsyth, said he’s heard some concern from residents about the towers, but mostly because they’re looking for more information.

The local group hasn’t formed an opinion on the matter, though Slaughter did say some studies have shown a potential for harmful radiation from cell towers.

“We’re hopeful that the school board will bring that expertise to the community so they can answer the questions,” he said.

“As long as they make an effort to be as inclusive and open as possible before they go and make a decision, I think that will go a long way.”

If approved, the towers would the first for the school system.

Each tower would be placed at least the distance of its height away from the school buildings and would be designed, fenced and camouflaged to look like trees at cost to the cell phone company.