A new cellular tower might be built on Argyle ISD property.

The tower would be owned and maintained by New Cingular Wireless Personal Communication Service LLC over a five-year lease that would generate about $2,000 a month for the district, Director of Operation Tommy Ledford said. Ledford presented the contract proposal at a March 25 meeting.

The company is a subsidiary of AT&T Wireless, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The details

The 114-foot-tall tower would be built on the west side of Argyle Middle School’s baseball complex near the concession stands, Ledford said. The campus is along US 377.

At the end of the five years, the district will have the option to terminate the partnership, and subsequently Cingular will remove the tower from the property. If the district chose to extend the rental for another five years, the rental price would increase by 10%, Ledford said. In the future, the district could entertain offers from other companies looking to build towers. In those instances, the original price of $2,000 will set the minimum standard going forward, he said.

Argyle ISD would earn $24,000 for the 2024-25 school year if the lease is approved, according to district documents.

Zooming in

The initial proposed location was on the north side of the bullpen, the area where pitchers warm up before entering the game, but district officials decided against this because they thought it would distract fans during games, Ledford said. The tower would be over 30 feet taller than the field light poles.

Although the proposed site would be less distracting, it also places the tower near a heavily trafficked area being so close to the concession stands, which could pose safety concerns, trustee Ritchie Deffenbaugh said. The initial location north of the bullpen would be further away from people attending games.

“I think getting it out of the way of people is a better benefit than having it out of the sightline of someone looking at the ball field," Deffenbaugh said.

It is important the district retains flexibility on the tower’s location in case the administration decides to upgrade the stadium’s concession stand or chooses to develop the land for other facilities, trustee Josh Westrom said. Another consideration is the company’s access to the tower, which would cut through AISD property in the current proposal. The district needs to maintain the ability to relocate the access point should it redesign the site, Westrom said.

“I wouldn’t want this lease to dictate to us how we have to design any upgrades,” he said.

Also of note

Cingular would handle all the permitting and the application process with the city, and will maintain the 40-by-40-foot area around the tower, which would include a new gravel drive for maintenance access, Ledford said.

The company would also be required to maintain $1 million in property and bodily injury insurance coverage should accidents occur, Ledford said, after board members raised concerns over the possibility of the tower falling on AISD property during intense storms. The district’s legal department will review the lease prior to board approval.

The board suggested the administration look at moving the tower to ensure it is further from foot traffic and that the company can access it without going through AISD property. The administration will consider the board’s input and bring an updated recommendation for approval at a future meeting.