Cell Phone Tower Proposed For Elementary School

Residents on Madison’s north side are trying to learn more about a project that could soon be towering over their neighborhood.

The tower is being proposed for the land near Gompers Elementary School and Blackhawk Middle School. U.S. Cellular wants to build a 75 foot-tall flagpole cell tower, surrounded by an 8-foot wall. The tower would be located behind the schools, off Wheeler Road. The school district would get needed revenue from U.S. Cellular as part of the deal.

School leaders said that they want to hear from the public before a decision is made.

?What I want to do is find out all the information, what the entire community thinks,” said school board member Marj Passman.

She said she wants feedback on a proposed cell phone tower on a local school?s property.

“Why are we even bothering with this, why would we put a tower up there? Ah money,” said Passman. “It gives money to the school system and in desperately needy times, every penny that comes in helps.”

It’s not known how much money the school district would get in the deal until the proposal is approved and the district negotiates a price with U.S. Cellular, but for some parents, there?s no negotiating.

“We didn’t expect any opposition. We didn’t think it was a problem and maybe we just need to be caught up on some of the information,” said Passman.

Jeanette Paulson?s daughters go to Gompers. The PTO co-president said there are some concerns over theories and studies about the effects of cell phone towers.

“There is some concern. And that brings interest in participation in hearing more about what should we be concerned about?,” said Paulson. ?I’m hopeful we’ll have a good discourse around it and that we’ll hear from more than the cell phone company in terms of the potential impacts might be on children.”

?Is it safe? That?s the bottom line for me,? said Passman. ?Will we be putting any of our children in danger? Certainly I couldn?t vote for that if that were the case.?

There is a similar tower located on James Madison Memorial High School?s school grounds. The district is getting paid to have the tower on the property.

There is a meeting scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 27 at 6 p.m. at Blackhawk Middle School?s library. The meeting, requested by U.S. Cellular, will present the plans to parents and residents and get their feedback. This is not a school board meeting; the full board will not be there and is not voting.

Passman said the board is expected to take a vote as soon as next month on the proposal.