‘Sky Blue Poles Seen Against the Sky’: Public Safety Antennas Proposed for West School, St. Luke’s

Town officials have received applications to affix radio antennas to existing structures at West and St. Luke’s Schools, part of a wider effort to improve communications for New Canaan’s first responders. The proposed 20.8-foot antenna at West School would be located atop of a building toward the rear of the campus, on a roof whose peak is about 28 feet from the ground, according to an application submitted to Planning & Zoning. The proposed 20-foot antenna at St. Luke’s would be affixed atop a brick chimney at a building alongside the football field, according to the school’s application.

Board of Ed Voices Support for Proposed Emergency Communications Antenna at West School

Board of Education members on Monday night voiced support for a proposal from the New Canaan Police Department to install an approximately 10-foot radio communications antenna on a 5-foot “monopole” atop the roof of the West School gymnasium. Assured that the pole poses no health hazards—in fact, there are two existing, similar set-ups already at West School, used by the bus company and district itself, according to Police Capt. John DiFederico—Board of Ed members stopped short of a formal vote. The new one would serve public safety needs, he said. School board member Sheri West said: “It seems very straightforward to me that we would be supporting” the installation. DiFederico described the proposed antenna as an initial step toward improving portable radio communications for police, fire and public works officials as well as EMTs and members of the Community Emergency Response Team or ‘CERT.’

“The problem is that portable radios in the western side of town have a real difficult time reaching our base so that is what a receive-only antenna does—it captures the radio signals in the air and sends them back to the police department or the fire house or the public works facilities,” DiFederico said at the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School.