Signal tower gets face lift

Amy Trapini

While students were home relaxing over the winter break, the Student Center tower for cellular phone and radio antennas got a replacement, one that was much needed, an upgrade 35 years in the making.

The tower, initially constructed in 1968 to enhance the signal for the campus radio station, WQAQ, was in need of a new, improved model.

Since 1980, the facilities department has been making and managing repairs on this tower.

In 1995, when New Haven was host to the International World Special Olympics, SNET added a cellular site on the tower to help facilitate transmission of some of the events held here at Quinnipiac University.

The site was added at the request of the company.

An additional cellular site was added to the tower in 1998.

Due to the major increase in the use of cellular phones, not only by students but by all members of the Quinnipiac and Hamden communities, additional cellular sites could not be continually added to the existing tower, as it was not constructed to support many additional antennas.

In the summer of 2002, the University and the facilities department began considering the replacement of the tower, due to cellular service failure for the students and due to the wear and tear the initial tower received for over 35 years.

Cingular proposed a flagpole-like structure to hold additional cellular sites.

This new and improved tower was put up on Dec. 20-21, 2003 and now contains four cellular antenna sites, all of which belong to Cingular.

“The newly improved cell tower is in place to increase the cellular phone service to all members of the Quinnipiac community,” Keith Woodward, associate director of Facilities said. “With the additional tower sites, service has improved dramatically not only on campus, but on surrounding areas as well. In the past, when traveling down Mt. Carmel Avenue, I would lose service and now service is uninterrupted.”

The flagpole-like structure extends 80 feet from the roof of the Student Center.

Although it does enhance the cellular phone signal, it does not affect the signal for WQAQ.

That signal and the capabilities of the tower for use by the radio station remain the same as in the original tower.

This tower has the ability, unlike the original tower, to expand, add on and support additional cellular sites as they become needed in the future.