8640 South Snowbird Drive, Sandy, UT 84093
801-826-7900

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FAQ – Brookwood’s Cell Tower

Background

A cell tower has been housed on the Brookwood Elementary campus since 2010. The current tower is in front of the school and is built to resemble a flagpole. As all technology is updated on a continuous basis, it’s necessary to update such supporting structures as mainframes, networks and cell towers. In 2018 and 2019, the Brookwood School Community Council (SCC), Canyons District Administration, and Atlas Towers began discussions to update the tower and to relocate it to the back of the school.  When the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, these discussions were placed on hold. Discussions began again in early 2022, and the plan was to move forward with constructing the new tower this summer. Cell phone towers are located at 25 Canyons District schools. 

Frequently Asked Questions

A legally binding agreement to house a cell tower at Brookwood Elementary has been in place for 12 years. A breach of the contract would not be legally prudent and would cause the District to incur very significant costs.

The current construction location was originally the option offered by Atlas Tower. This location was the result of requirements such as a cell tower must be at least 160 feet from any private property, which includes homes that are adjacent to Brookwood’s campus and property owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For this reason, the tower cannot be placed in a corner of the school’s property. A possible alternative location, which is closer to the building, was not considered a prime spot due to the fact that underground utilities would need to be excavated and relocated. However, as noted in the survey, the District and Atlas Tower would work around the utility lines to locate the tower closer to the school if that location reflects the community’s desire as indicated by the results of the survey. Other areas, including the grass triangular corner on the southwest side of the school, were also reviewed as possible locations. However, this option was not feasible due to access to electricity.

The tower will occupy about 1,500 square feet (for comparison purposes an average Brookwood classroom is 900 square feet, the tower will occupy about the size of 1.67 classrooms). The tower will be enclosed by a six-foot brick wall. Brookwood has 4.17 acres of landscaped space (or approximately 181,000 square feet), the tower will occupy less than 1% of this space.

A stealth tower is designed to appear like a tree with the aim of blending into the community. Atlas Tower will plant trees and other shrubs around the tower. The planted trees may eventually grow close to 60 feet. There are some misconceptions that a stealth tower does not need to meet Sandy City ordinances. To the contrary, Sandy City did review the plans to ensure they complied with city ordinances. It should be noted that it was Sandy City that required the brick wall, trees and shrubs.

Per district policy, an elementary school is only allowed to hold one school fundraiser each year. The fundraiser has been Artapalooza for the last 11 years. This fundraiser is run solely by parent volunteers. Funds are used to support STEAM curriculum and instruction.

Brookwood’s PTA is also allowed one fundraiser per school year. This is the “No Fuss Fundraiser” held at the beginning of every school year. PTA funds are used to enhance the educational experience for the students at Brookwood through such events as field trips, assemblies, field days, the fun run, etc.

An elementary school is also allowed to hold a charitable fundraiser each year, which is our partnership with Ouelessebougou Alliance Utah.

Money raised by these fundraisers cannot be used to pay personnel. For example, Fundraisers cannot pay for the “Hands on Science” teacher, our lunchroom assistant, the safety patrol coordinator, half-day substitutes for Building Leadership meetings, our Bear TV producer, and the school’s website manager.  

Funds earned through a cell-phone tower lease are not restricted, as long as it’s an appropriate expense for the school. Brookwood receives $18,147.24 annually for housing the tower on the property.

  • Lunchroom assistant salary
  • Website manager stipend
  • Half-day substitutes for monthly Building Leadership Team meetings (one teacher per grade)
  • Safety Patrol Coordinator stipend
  • Staff apparel stipends
  • Safety Patrol supplies/incentives
  • Student planners
  • “Hands on Science” teacher salary
  • Math Olympiads membership
  • Bear TV Producer stipends
  • Positive Behavior and Intervention Support (PBIS) incentives for students
  • PBIS Rewards online software licensing
  • PBIS Book vending machine supplies and school store supplies
  • Art Booster supplies
  • Artapalooza Supplies
  • Silver Spoon and monthly CEO awards
  • Teacher meals (beginning of year BBQ, SEP dinner, Christmas luncheon, occasional meals during professional developments)

There is no conclusive evidence that exposure to cell towers causes any noticeable health effects. In fact, cell towers do not even reach as far as other radio frequencies. There is a vast body of scientific evidence that has proven that radio frequency communication devices are safe for humans of all ages. Reliable sources of information on this topic can be found at the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) website. Other sources include the Occupation Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), the American Cancer Society, the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as reputable peer reviewed scientific and medical journals from prominent academic institutions of higher learning.

Every aspect of wireless technology, including the design, manufacture, and use of wireless devices is regulated for safety. Current regulations and court rulings regarding radio frequency safety consistently affirm that radio frequency exposure rules currently in place ensure that this technology is safe for both adults and children alike.  

Congress has granted the authority to establish radio frequency standards for safety only to the FCC. It is well-established law that the FCC’s rules and regulations for safety are not subject to challenge in state or local jurisdictions. Therefore, any concerns or questions about the regulation of radio frequency, or requests to deny the use of radio frequency approved equipment must be directed to the federal government through the FCC. Therefore, local governmental entities, such as a Planning and Zoning Commission, a Board of County Commissioners, or a school district may not regulate matters related to radio frequency safety or deny an application based on health concerns.

Wireless technology is proven to be safe and good for the community. Wireless technology allows the community to function more efficiently and it greatly facilitates first responder reaction times, thus improving emergency response and saving lives.   Wireless communication allows families to stay in touch with their children and other family members. Wireless technology enables businesses, organizations and educational institutions to be more efficient and more equitable in their delivery of resources to all types of people, regardless of income or other inequities that may exist in society. The resounding demand for excellent wireless communication in your community is driven by the needs of your students, your parents, and your local community.  

*The School Community Council is here to represent the Brookwood community. The SCC co-chairs would love to have conversations with anyone who has feedback or questions. 

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