Rock Ridge High School telecom tower

A photo simulation demonstrates the view of a new telecommunications tower from the parking lot of Rock Ridge High School.

In November 2020, Reston-based Milestone Communications proposed the installation of a 140-foot-tall telecommunications facility next to Rock Ridge High School’s football stadium in Ashburn, a move that the Loudoun County School Board is scheduled to approve Jan. 26.

Milestone Communications has partnered with more than 60 public and private landowners, including several other Virginia school systems, to construct more than 130 towers during its 19 years in business, according to Loudoun school board documents.

The School Board’s Finance and Facilities Committee on Dec. 8 approved and recommended the construction of the monopole, which will initially carry AT&T wireless signals and will offer space for other wireless providers, as well as dedicated space for Loudoun County Public Schools’ use.

According to photo simulations included in the presentation from November, the planned tower will be visible from few of the multiple residential and recreational areas that surround it.

Milestone officials also assured stakeholders that the tower will not only improve the wireless signal capacity and coverage levels in the surrounding area, but it will do so at extremely low risk — a common point of concern when it comes to the installation of modern wireless towers.

The presentation quoted the Federal Communications Commission, saying: “Radiofrequency emissions from antennas used for cellular and PCS transmissions result in exposure levels on the ground that are typically thousands of times below safety limits. There is no reason to believe that such towers could constitute a potential health hazard to nearby residents or students.”

The School Board scheduled a public hearing on the matter for its Tuesday meeting, but there were no community registrants.

After brief discussion and without board objection, Chairwoman Brenda Sheridan (Sterling District) moved the item to the consent agenda of the Jan. 26 meeting.

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