Centre County 911 upgrade bringing revenue

With a switchover to the new 911 system on the near horizon, Centre County’s more than $14 million investment is starting to bring in some revenue.

The Board of Commissioners unanimously passed an agreement at its meeting Tuesday to rent out space on the new Woodward tower site to a private wireless company. Comprehensive Wireless will pay the county $2,400 a month to install two microwave dishes and receive space for related electrical equipment.

The deal is in place for three years with a 2 percent cost increase each year, and the agreement automatically renews for four additional three-year periods unless either party opts out.

There also will be extra space for other providers interested in using the tower, Emergency Communications and 911 Director Dan Tancibok said.

“It was built to handle additional tenants, and it was also built to handle additional elevation if we choose to add to it,” he said.

The system also has the capacity to add neighboring counties or other agencies, and Commissioner Chris Exarchos said they are exploring the opportunity. He said the statewide trend has been to move toward consolidation and, as studies continue, talks could move forward.

Commissioner Michael Pipe added that there has already been some cooperation outside of the county between agencies to get things moving in the Moshannon Valley and in the Howard area of Clinton County.

“There’s already partnership there, so those are beneficial as we go into a conversation about statewide and county partners,” he said.

County officials are hoping to finish working through some small issues with the microwave equipment later this week and continue moving toward the transition soon.