T-Mobile Proposes Cell Tower at Lakeside High

T-Mobile representatives discussed potential plans for a cell tower at Lakeside High yesterday – a deal that could potentially help the school in several ways.

A proposal is in the preliminary stages for wireless carrier T-Mobile to build a cell tower on ’s property. In exchange for placing the tower on school property, the DeKalb County School System would receive an as yet undisclosed amount of monetary compensation. T-Mobile has selected four possible sites for the tower and presented their plans to the public yesterday.

Shawn Blassingill, senior development manager for T-Mobile’s Atlanta division, said engineers find areas that might need a tower using various factors, including customer feedback and network performance data. Teams then visit the area and begin to look for possible tower sites.

T-Mobile first attempts to use existing structures for towers—66 percent of cell towers are built on existing infrastructure—but if those cannot be used, tall structures like parking decks and buildings are next for study. If those are unavailable, the company begins to look at private property sites.

Blassingill said that DeKalb County has very strict rules against building telecommunications structures in places zoned for residential use. This is why T-Mobile began to look at schools for locations.

After possible sites were identified, T-Mobile picked four potential locations and flew a balloon through them to photograph the areas. They then produced mock-up images of what the cell tower would look like in each of them. The potential tower is the monopine variety, the kind that resembles a pine tree.

The plan has already been proposed to the county's board of education and Lakeside Principal Joe Reed. Reed shared a story about a student who recently had a seizure outside the school in an area lacking in wireless signal strength. To call for help, Reed had to run back into the school building and use a landline phone. Another school-specific concern is that none of Lakeside’s athletic fields have lighting, so Reed wanted to know if T-Mobile could integrate lighting into a potential tower, which they can.

Leaflets distributed at the event explained that property values are not adversely affected by the construction of a cell tower. In fact, real estate agents often use wireless signal strength as a factor in presenting homes to prospective buyers.

Another possible concern is about the issue of electromagnetic and radio frequency emissions from a tower.

“We operate these facilities well below any [electromagnetic emission] guidelines,” said Paul Hajek, senior manager of radio frequency design engineering for T-Mobile. He added that the Federal Communications Commission has very strict standards regarding radio frequency emissions and that T-Mobile towers operate within them.

A tower emits about 0.1 microwatts per square centimeter of radio waves. By comparison, a wireless router emits 0.13 microwatts per square centimeter, a cordless phone emits 15 microwatts per square centimeter and a police radio emits 250 microwatts per square centimeter. This low amount is because of the tower’s height. Blassingill also said towers are monitored around the clock for possible spikes in emissions and that T-Mobile conducts emission studies before and after towers are built.

Plans for a tower are not yet finalized because T-Mobile still needs to discuss logistics with the school and the school board. Meetings at other schools will be held over the coming days, all beginning at 6pm:

Brockett Elementary, Flat Rock Elementary and Jolly Elementary on May 4.

Margaret Harris Center, Princeton Elementary and Smoke Rise Elementary on May 10.

Narvie J. Harris Elementary, Meadowview Elementary and on May 11.

Blassingill encouraged residents to contact him at 678-612-7489 or shawn.blassingill@t-mobile.com with questions, comments or concerns.

Brian May 29, 2011 at 03:50 PM
The Naila study is utter nonsense. I do not know if Jack read the study, but if he did perhaps he can explain why the authors even bothered to mention that the average age of the onset of cancer is 64.1 in the inner area vs 66.5 for all of Germany in a study that had just 13 cases of cancer. The statistical variance in this measure is far too high to have any merit. One must wonder why such a clownish study gets any press unless those who provide it are clueless themselves. Furthermore, the Naila study was published in the journal "Umwelt Medizin Gesellschaft" which, when searched, seems to contain nothing but alarmist radiation studies and references from alarmist sites. I know nothing about this journal other than professionlism does not appear to be one of its qualities. The British study debunking the cell tower cancer myth (that CD dismissed in favor of research supported by quack cancer and radiation snake oil sites) had more than 100-fold the number of cancer cases. It appeared in the BMJ, one of the world's most presigious peer-reviewed medical journals that was one of the first to publish articles on the danger of tobacco. The alarmism cited by CD and Jack led to legislation in my neighborhood that halted development of towers and is bringing our network to its knees. I've lost reliable reception in my home office. The local, ignorant, anti-wireless group in my town quoted the Naila study too. Good luck!
Jack May 29, 2011 at 08:03 PM
In the German study, the patients fell ill on average 8 years earlier. That's a big difference. There were 1,000 people in the Naila study, and it went on for 10 years. A fourfold increase in cancer is a highly significant statistic. Umwelt Medizin Gesellschaft means environment medicine society – the journal publishes studies pertaining to the environment such as EMF, radon, or multi-chemical exposure. Obviously, the results of the study do not fit your preferred view, so you’re labeling it as ‘alarmist’. The University of Tel Aviv used 622 people near towers and 1,222 people further away and nearly duplicated the German study's results. Again, the British study was NOT a prospective cohort study. It was a case control study with a higher opportunity for bias. It studied 1,397 British children ages zero to 4. Therefore, it could not catch any cancer with a long latency period. The Naila study and the University of Tel Aviv study both found that the cancers correlated with cell tower radiation had long latency periods of over five years. The british study failed to mention that in Britain, local ordinances and protests often prevent cell towers from being in residential areas. Also, it did not study whether the pregnant mothers worked near cell towers. Since most exposure to cell towers occurs in commercial or warehouse districts, the study was basically useless and designed to get the 'right result'.
Brian May 30, 2011 at 02:27 AM
Brian 8:03pm on Sunday, May 29, 2011 A few things here: "It studied 1,397 British children ages zero to 4. Therefore, it could not catch any cancer with a long latency period. " What's important is that it studied 1397 cases WITH cancer, as opposed to 21 cases in Naila. If you assert that 4-5 years is not enough sufficient , you must then dismiss CDs alarmist link to Bayville, whose headline reads: "Cell Phone Antennas Blamed for KINDERGARTEN Cancer Cases" unless Bayville has a 5-year Kindergarten program. Also, why do you claim the Naila report is a prospective cohort study? Not that it makes a huge difference -- the limited number of cases (21) -- is sufficient to declare it useless. As I read it, they searched existing records in 2004 rather than following a cohort beginning in 1994: "The basis of the data used for the survey were PC files of the case histories of patients between the years 1994 and 2004. " and later in the paper: "The basic data was taken from the medical records held by the local medical authority (Krankenkasse) for the years 1994 to 2004. This material is stored on computer." Finally, please clearly explain the biases and their effects on results in the BMJ report vs UMG. I will respond with reasons that the UMG article is weak, and by drawing conclusions on such limited data, could only be placed in an alarmist rag. No peer-reviewed journal would accept this report.
Cheryl Miller July 12, 2011 at 11:41 PM
I have had cancer caused by the sun. And, I don't let my child outside for any length of time without sunscreen to protect her. What can I do to protect her from this form of radiation? Nothing. No one has the right to expose my child to 24/7 radiation when no studies have even been completed on its effects and no studies involving children have been conducted. Until the school system conducts a salary audit and starts spending responsibly, they do not deserve our blanket approval of ways to give them even more, especially when this has the potential to harm children. Read the lease... it mentions hazardous materials. What has this world come to that we would even try to rationalize something that puts known HAZMAT materials on public school lands, intentionally? What do you think the students will get out of this? It boils down to $37 per year per student and that's if the money were to actually stay at the school. There is no mention of what they will spend it on. Don't you think you have the right to ask before you lower your neighbor's property values and drive students away to charter, magnet and privates?
Cheryl Miller November 26, 2011 at 06:05 PM
The petition went great, btw, and helped us stop T-mobile at Brockett, thanks for asking.


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