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NHC School Board, AT&T plan construction of cell tower behind elementary school


The New Hanover County School Board and AT&T plan to build a cell phone tower behind Murrayville Elementary School. The tower would fall right in Brooke Baker’s back yard.

“My main concern is the health affects that the cell phone tower is going to have over a long period of time on our family, as well as our neighbors, and the children that go to the school behind us at Murrayville Elementary School,” said Baker.

Baker said it has only been a week since she found out about the plans, even though the school board has been considering the idea for more than a year. Once Baker found out she told Murrayville parents.

PTA vice president Angela Paterson said she is also worried about the health of the students. She does not understand why parents weren’t notified earlier.

“They send home fliers whenever they put out ant killer, but they can’t notify us that they’re going to put a radio active tower up,” asked Paterson.

New Hanover County School’s spokesperson Valita Quattlebaum said she understands parents’ concerns, but county schools don’t send home notices when making changes to the buildings.

“That’s how this is viewed, as just a modification to our property,” said Quattlebaum.

Before AT&T can build the tower, New Hanover County commissioners must approve a special use permit. To qualify, the tower must be inline with the rest of the community.

Residents said a cell phone tower just will not connect with their neighborhood. “It’s not in harmony with the existing structures around here. You don’t see any other 90 foot towers around here,” added Baker.

Opponents of the cell phone tower said there are studies showing the negative health affects cell-phones can cause, which they plan to present Monday night.

Qualttlebaum said the school has not performed any independent studies into the dangers of cell phone towers. But as long as the tower meets federal regulations, county commissioners cannot deny the permit for environmental factors.

Health risks would fall under the environmental factors.

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Story summary

videoPlans to build a cell phone tower near a local elementary school have parents hung up with health concerns. Monday, Murrayville Elementary School parents and neighbors are calling on county commissioners to stop AT&T from building the tower.

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