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Commissioners approve design-build contractor for emergency radio tower

The Stanly County Board of Commissioners on Monday night unanimously approved Motorola to be the design-build contractor for the county’s new 300-foot emergency communications radio tower.

The radio tower will be constructed on N.C. Highway 24-27 east behind the new East Side Volunteer Fire Department.

Stanly’s current radio system structure has a remote site in Locust along with three additional remote sites at Stanly Community College in Albemarle, Tuckertown (northern Stanly) and Norwood.

The county received four responses to the request for qualifications to design the tower: Motorola, Infinigy, Allstate Tower and Tower Engineering Professionals.

Upon review of each, the county recommended Motorola because the company already designed and developed a construction cost estimate for the project, which will save time towards construction, County Manager Andy Lucas said.

“We want to move this project along,” he said, “because the longer it takes, the longer we’re in a situation where we do have gaps in radio coverage in the eastern part of our county.”

Motorola also has consistency and compatibility with the county’s existing towers and digital system and has experience working with the county’s inspections and emergency management personnel, Lucas said.

The site where the tower will be built sits upon a knoll. The county already soil-tested the land to make sure the site will be on good property and it would allow Motorola to give the county a better cost, Lucas said.

Motorola is close to finalizing its cost estimate for the project, Lucas said.

The total cost of the tower will be around $1.16 million and will come out of the county’s fund balance.

The county’s unencumbered General Fund balance as of June 30, 2018 was approximately $16.2 million (or 25% of total expenditures), Lucas wrote in an email to the Stanly News and Press.

In the next few months, commissioners will receive a project budget.

It will take around three to six months for the tower to be built, electronics to be added and testing to occur, Lucas said.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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