Cell tower to be replaced at Hopewell’s municipal complex

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The Hopewell Township Committee has awarded a $442,800 contract to Procomm Systems to replace the cell tower at the Hopewell Township Municipal Complex on Washington Crossing-Pennington Road.

Procomm Systems, which is located in Phillipsburg, submitted the lowest bid for the project. The three bids ranged from Procomm Systems’ low bid of $442,800 to the high bid of $519,600 submitted by All State Tower. The township had budgeted $600,000 for the new tower.

The cell tower, located near the Hopewell Township Police Department headquarters, houses the communications equipment for police and emergency services, Municipal Engineer Mark Kataryniak told the Hopewell Township Committee at its Jan. 28 meeting.

There are concerns about the longevity of the current tower, which also has structural deficiencies, Kataryniak said. The new tower will be 180 feet tall, which will raise the height of the antennas and enable better communications with emergency responders, he said.

The project, which has been in the works for several years, calls for dismantling the existing tower and replacing it with the new tower and new antennas and communications equipment. Kataryniak described it as a “state-of-the-art” communications tower.

“The tower represents a significant upgrade and it will allow us to reach additional areas of the township where there is not reliable police communications today,” Township Committee member Kevin Kuchinski said.

Space will be reserved on the new tower for third-party cell carriers, Kataryniak said. The tower has been designed to accommodate future expansion, and the administration is in the process of preparing a separate bid to lease out space on the tower, he said.

Leasing out space on the cell tower could generate $60,000 to $80,000 in annual revenue, Kuchinski pointed out. Three or four communications companies have expressed interest in leasing space on the cell tower, he said.

“This is exciting for many reasons,” Mayor Kristin McLaughlin said. She also mentioned the opportunity for additional revenue.

“The Police Department has been asking for this for a long time. It will give them much better access (to) information,” Mayor McLaughlin said, adding that it is always good when bids for a project come in under budget.