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Communication tower needed near Battle High School

A Columbia high school is lacking the ample amount of radio signal that’s crucial to emergency responders.

A communication tower near Battle High School has been in the works since the beginning of the year.

However, this summer the school district got news the tower wouldn’t be built anytime soon.

Martina Pounds with the Boone County Fire District told ABC 17 News that without the tower emergency responders cannot communicate with their radios inside the building.

She said a boost in signal is a requirement, and it’s an issue school officials are aware of and are working to fix.

“Anytime that we don’t have the level that we would like to have it absolutely is concerning for us,” said Michelle Baumstark with the Columbia Public School district.

The city, school district, and county are involved in the process of building the communication tower.

To do so starts with a request for proposals, or RFP.

“We have issued an RFP; we had no responders to that RFP, so that set us back so we had to go back to the drawing board,” said Baumstark.

Baumstark told ABC 17 News no one was particularly surprised when there ended up being no bidders.

She told ABC 17 News that is because of how many entities are involved and the magnitude of building a 300 foot steel tower.

“There are a lot of moving parts to putting one in and especially putting one in within proximity and involving a school district.” said Baumstark.

In the meantime, emergency responders are using radios where they can.

“Inside certain areas of the building, we do have two-way radios that do work in that building so there are some things that work and some things that need enhancing,” said Baumstark.

Pounds told ABC 17 News that Battle High School is not the only building with this radio issue.

The mall, Hickman, and Rock Bridge High Schools are areas where emergency personnel experience spotty radio signal.

County commissioners told ABC 17 News that all towers will be inspected as part of the process of building the new 911 center.

Baumstark said she cannot ball park how much the tower will cost until someone bids on the project.

The first proposal had the school funding the project.

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