Franklin County has approved a proposal to build a cellular tower on campus behind the football stadium. While the proposal still requires the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and State Historic Preservation Office approval, construction plans are underway with an early summer completion date expected. In April 2018, the Sewanee Community Council was updated on the project; work on the details of the plan has continued since then. (See April 27, 2018 issue.)
The tower project is a collaboration led by the University and Vogue Tower and includes Franklin County, Verizon, and Franklin County Emergency Management. The effort aims to bring Verizon and other cellular providers, such as Sprint & T-Mobile, in addition to improved emergency communications, to the community.
The location of the tower will be tucked away in the rear tailgate area of Sewanee’s Harris Stadium (football stadium) on the far side of the shotput area. The location was selected in partnership with Verizon engineers to maximize on-campus and Domain coverage and to address the needs of Franklin County emergency communications, and in consideration of environmental and FAA regulations. Several locations were explored and proposed as part of the process, and this location was selected to maximize coverage. While there is no perfect location for a cell tower, a water tower, or a power line, wireless connectivity has become a basic utility that is needed for the safety and connectivity of the community.
The proposed tower will be approxmately 189 feet tall, with a 60 feet by 60 feet fenced area and landscaping around the open side of it. The tower will not be lit. The tower company is responsible for maintenance, repairs, and liability related to the tower.