School District Searches for Tower Management Partner

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Sarasota (FL) County School officials are looking to increase district revenue from cell tower contracts. The Observer reported that five towers currently exist across district school campuses, and contracts created 20 or more years ago are up for renewal. 

Chief Operations Officer Jody Dumas recommended hiring a third party to control the district’s towers, subleases, and liaise with residents. “At the end of the day, we don’t have the expertise in the cell tower industry to know that we’re doing the right things at the right time and maximizing our use of these assets,” Dumas said.

The district has already received a management proposal from Milestone Communications in exchange for a portion of the sublease revenue. According to the proposal, Milestone would share 10 percent of the income on current subleases, and the district would receive 25 percent of the revenue on any new lease. Milestone’s projections show that with the existing towers, the district would collect an additional $340,000 over 10 years, reported The Observer. 

The company also proposed building new towers across 13 district campuses. If an agreement is reached, Milestone would fund 100 percent of the design and cover $45,000 in construction costs. 

“On some of the proposed campuses, I think we would definitely say, ‘No, that’s not an area we’d like to have a cell tower,’” Dumas said. “However, there are some opportunities on some of our properties where we could place some additional towers that would integrate into kind of what we’re already doing.” For example, integrating small cells into lighting at football and soccer stadiums. 

Dumas added that a Request for Proposal would be released with the board’s approval, allowing other companies to bid. Once a partner is chosen, over the next two years, the district will transition the current towers’ management, and then begin reviewing proposals for new towers, reported The Observer.

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