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Waupaca approves two towers

Waupaca plans to install a communications tower at city hall and the future Public Works facility to network all city buildings. Photo courtesy of Joshua Werner

City plans to network facilities

By Robert Cloud

The city of Waupaca will construct two communications towers to connect the rec center, the police station and the future Public Works facility to the servers at city hall.

The Common Council approved the $189,000 networking plan at its Sept. 5 meeting.

Joshua Werner, the city’s IT director, told the council that consolidating all Public Works into a single facility provides an opportunity for the city to connect with all its off-site locations.

“They’re stand alone, not tied into any of our systems,” he said regarding Public Works’ multiple sites. “We’ve got a lot of duplicate communication expenses.”

Werner noted that the city’s three main buildings – city hall, the rec center and police station – are currently all tied together on one computer network.

“We share all our different IT resources,” Werner said. “It’s led to cross savings over the years.”

Connecting the Public Works facility into the city’s network has proven more challenging and more expensive.

The facility will be located on the city’s east side at the former site of Haberkorn Field.

Costs, savings

In a report to the council, Werner said, “If the new public works facility operated stand-alone from the main city network, we would have to have a duplicate set of IT systems and monthly telecommunications expenses. By adding this facility to our main network, they can share the same phone system and phone lines we already pay for, same access control system, same security camera system, same file server, same wireless network controller, same internet connection, etc. Our current systems support adding this new facility as-is.”

He estimated that installing a stand-alone system at the facility would have up-front costs of just over $20,000, while ongoing costs over the 50-year life expectancy of the system would be nearly $332,000.

Werner researched various methods of connecting the facility to the system.

He looked at installing fiber optics under ground and using utility poles, using the county’s fiber optics system and using towers.

While the upfront costs for fiber are $163,275, the ongoing costs are $231,408.

The city can install two towers – one at the Public Works facility and one at city hall – for an initial $189,000 with ongoing costs estimated at $89,000.

Werner received bids from Vinco Inc. and Elexco sent bids for fiber optics and for towers.

Werner recommended awarding the contract to Vinco.

Because his proposal was over the $180,000 that council approved from its capital expenditures budget for the project, Werner also said Waupaca Online could provide $30,000 to the cost.

Werner said the city’s online service will benefit from the taller towers.

The council unanimously approved the proposal.

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