PRINCETON — The Bureau County Board is moving forward with a plan to upgrade the grounding grid system for the communication tower at the county jail, with the hopes to eliminate any future lightning strikes.
At Tuesday’s board meeting, Buildings and Grounds Committee Chairman Kristi Warren updated the county board on the recent field study completed at the jail tower by E & S Grounding Solutions of California. The study was “very thorough and eye-opening,” Warren said.
The study has included testing of the grounding grid at the tower and writing an interpretation of the test results, with the final component to be the development of a work plan to correct the issues at the tower, Warren said. The E & S Grounding consultant has presented two plans for the board to consider, a short-term emergency plan and a long-term plan.
The consultant’s recommendation was to go with the short-term plan, Warren said. The long-term plan would be much more involved and expensive. To put so much money into grounding and securing the jail tower, the county board would want to make sure the jail and communication equipment stay at its present site, the consultant said.
Warren agreed, saying taking the unknown future in consideration, the short-term plan seems to be the better choice.
“It’s probably not likely that they (jail and communication equipment) will change, but we don’t know that,” Warren said. “A new board may do something different with the jail. The company is satisfied that the short-term immediate plan will be sufficient for us.”
In a related issue, Warren said the Buildings and Grounds Committee was also concerned with the tower outside the county courthouse and wondered if the county should do a grounding study on that tower as well. Since the courthouse tower has not been hit by lightning, the E & S Grounding consultant was not overly concerned about that tower, but the consultant did not know how the tower was grounded.
Warren said the question before the board was whether grounding work on both towers should be done at the same time.
After discussion, the board agreed to go forward with the short-term work plan for the tower at the county jail and to look into getting a grounding study done for the courthouse tower.
In other courthouse concerns, Warren reported on the recent evaluation done on the courthouse roof which showed “several significant areas” which needed to be addressed. The roof was replaced in 1996 and had a 10-year warranty, she said.
After discussion, the board passed a motion to declare an emergency situation with the courthouse roof and to seek the needed roof repairs. The board authorized Key Builders to coordinate the work project with Oldeen Roofing of Ottawa.
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