Kennesaw State University students who live on the Marietta campus are about to lose their excuse for never calling home.
The City Council voted unanimously last week to approve the construction of a new 120-foot cell tower near the campus. The tower will go on property owned by the International Association of Machinists Lodge 709 on South Marietta Parkway in a parking lot next to the school. The tower will go up with an antenna for T-Mobile users, but will also have room for three additional carriers.
T-Mobile has had several other recent applications for cell towers denied. One would have been near the Food Depot off South Marietta Parkway, not far from Marietta Sixth Grade Academy. The council shot that plan down 6-1 last year, citing worries the tower would be an eyesore.
The company also sought to put up a tower in Aviation Park, but were similarly defeated, said Kathy Kelly of Kelly Towers III, which represented T-Mobile in the search. Kelly said a new tower is needed because a previous deal to attach antennas to two city water towers expired with no option to renew.
“I think this is probably one of the best sites that we can find,” she said. “We really struggled to find replacement sites in the city of Marietta, it has definitely taken us quite some time, but hopefully, we’ve achieved what we need to achieve.”
Kelly said the tower will go in the corner of a parking lot that the lodge leases out to KSU for student parking, but they will try to remove as few parking spaces as possible.
Councilman Grif Chalfant asked Kelly whether they should expect more companies to come back in the future to stake out additional real estate for cell towers.
“Is this going to get you pretty much all the coverage you need, or are you still looking for places?” he asked.
Kelly said she can’t speak for T-Mobile, but predicted the upcoming fifth generation of cellular technology, called 5G, will bring about increased demand.
“There are still areas that need help, but this definitely does help with this area,” she said. “With 5G coming, there’s just going to be a lot of traffic, so I think we won’t really know what is needed in the future until we get into 5G.”