Three broadband towers intended for sites at Louisa County public schools received a stamp of approval from the board of supervisors and planning commission in a joint meeting on July 5.
The board voted along the same lines as it had in January 2016 when it allocated $1.1 million to build 10 towers to improve high-speed internet service in the county. The vote was 4-2, with Supervisors Toni Williams (Jackson district) and Troy Wade (Louisa district) opposed. Supervisor Willie Gentry (Cuckoo district) was not present.
Prior to the board’s vote, the planning commission approved the towers, 5-0. Commissioners Eric Purcell (Louisa district) and Ellis Quarles (Patrick Henry district) were absent.
Wade and Williams said when the board approved the funding in 2016 that they preferred a solution that is driven by the private sector, rather than one that is led and paid for by county government. Other supervisors have argued the county needs to build towers in order to attract private companies to provide internet service.
Towers of 180 feet in height are planned at Jouett and Moss-Nuckols elementary schools and a 120-foot tower will be built at Louisa County High School.
The 180-foot towers will be built using guy wires, while the shorter tower will be a monopole, Matt Bussing, a consultant for the Louisa County Broadband Authority, said. The guy wire towers are less expensive to erect, at $40,000 to $60,000, he said, but require more land. The authority opted for a monopole for the shorter tower, though its cost is closer to $120,000, because the location at the high school has limited space.
The next step for the authority, which has been focused up to this point on identifying ideal tower sites, is to get the structures built. Bussing said the group may opt to issue a request for proposals to tower construction firms.
To read the entire story, see the July 13 edition of The Central Virginian.