BELLEFONTE — Centre Countys emergency communications coverage got a boost Tuesday from an agreement to share a 911 tower site in Clearfield County.
The Centre County Board of Commissioners approved a contract Tuesday with Cooper Township, Clearfield County, to tap into a 911 tower there to help improve coverage.
Officials said the contract could be the first of many, as Centre County continues with a $12 million project to upgrade the countys emergency communications system.
This could be the beginning of a number of lease agreements that could be coming forward with other private and public entities, said Commissioner Chris Exarchos.
Exarchos said the county has saved a considerable amount of money by finding opportunities to share tower space, rather than constructing new sites as it seeks to increase 911 coverage.
Its been a good strategy, he said. Its been a real win-win in saving the taxpayers a lot of money.
In June, the commissioners approved a $12.4 million contract with Motorola Solutions to implement long-discussed upgrades to the countys emergency communications system
Initial estimates for the project were much higher, and county officials said some savings will come from sharing tower sites rather than building new ones.
The commissioners signed a 10- year lease with Cooper Township, which will automatically renew for two additional five-year terms. The contract is rent-free as long as Centre County uses the site for public safety.
Clearfield has the tower there, and we can use it to increase our coverage in the system upgrade, said Dan Tancibok, director of the countys Emergency Communications Office.
The county also will place a 911 equipment shelter and backup generator at the site. In exchange, Clearfield County can store its equipment in the building and tap into its backup power.
Its the perfect example of an (intermunicipal) agreement where they get a benefit and we get a benefit, Exarchos said.
Tancibok said the cooperation also creates an opportunity for future sharing of phone and dispatch data between the two county systems.
Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter