Barrington school board will discuss Sowams cell tower
The Barrington School Committee is scheduled to hear proposals for a new artificial turf playing surface at the high school and the construction of a new cell tower at Sowams School at its meeting on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.
Barrington resident Dr. Alex Robertson approached the town council at a recent meeting to discuss the idea of installing an artificial turf playing surface on Victory Field at the high school.
Dr. Robertson spoke about the poor condition of the natural grass surface at Victory Field by the second half of the fall and spring sports seasons, and mentioned the benefits of the new artificial turf surfaces, including fewer injuries to athletes.
Dr. Robertson also said there was a possibility the project could be funded entirely through private donations, and that the Barrington Booster Club may be interested in partnering on the work.
The council appeared receptive to the idea, and recommended that Dr. Robertson and other volunteers meet with school officials to gauge their interest.
The school committee is also scheduled to hear the early proposal for construction of a cell signal tower near Sowams School. A representative from AT&T approached the Barrington Town Council at its March 3 meeting and asked the board to endorse the concept of a cell tower on the school’s campus — the tower would be located about 50 feet west of the fenced-in baseball field.
The council voted 5-0 in favor of endorsing the concept. Bill DeWitt, the lone Republican on the council, said he lived in the Hampden Meadows area of town and was all for the increased coverage for AT&T.
The AT&T representative told members of the council that more people are using cell phones and dropping their land lines altogether. He said there is also more information being transmitted to and from cell phones — the more information that is transmitted on the signals the shorter the distance the signals can cover. He said that’s been the reason for the increase in cell phone towers.
The representative said he had examined other areas in Hampden Meadows that could host a cell tower. He specifically mentioned Hampden Meadows School, the Kent Street tennis courts and Sowams. He said other town-owned parcels, such as the athletic field near the Sowams Nursery property, were too far south to carry the needed signals.
The Sowams School location works well for the company, the representative said.
Some residents have voiced concerns about the proposed cell tower, and a new Facebook page — NocellphonetowerAtsowams — was recently established by a group of people opposed to the project. The page includes some information about a petition that was recently started calling for people to block the erection of the cell tower at Sowams School.
Part of AT&T’s initial proposal includes a $15,000 per year lease offer, plus a percentage of revenue.
• What: Barrington School Committee meeting
• When: Thursday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m.
• Where: School committee room at town hall
• What’s on the agenda: A proposed cell phone tower at Sowams School and proposed artificial turf surface at Victory Field
Read one resident's information packet regarding the proposed cell tower at Sowams School: