The city must have all of the radios changed over by Jan. 1, 2013.
The first phase is the building of a new radio communications building at the water tower on Central Street.
Construction of the building is nearly complete, and according to Sammy Stephens, Cedartown Fire Chief, it is expected to be finished by the end of June.
Stephens stated that construction of the building is funded through SPLOST money. He added that all of the materials for the project were bought local in an effort to keep the money at home.
Stephens also said that Northwest Probation Detention Center prisoners are providing the labor at no cost to the taxpayers.
“I also want to say that these guys are doing a great job,” Stephens said.
Replacing the communications building and equipment is also important because the manufacturer no longer supports the equipment in the existing building. Therefore, some parts may no longer be available.
Additionally, the current building does not have air conditioning and has had problems with insects, rats and moisture.
The new building is 10-feet by 20-feet, and constructed of concrete blocks with a metal roof.
The total cost of construction and new equipment is estimated at $22,475.
The reason for the changeover is the requirement by the FCC to change their frequency, which also includes the added benefit of doubling the bandwidth.
“All public safety communications operating on 25 khz have to go to 12.5 khz,” Stephens said.
The timing of this federal requirement is also somewhat convenient, as the radio equipment now in use is 15 to 20 years old.
Phase 2 of this project will be to revamp the radios in all city vehicles.
This part of the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2010.
Phase 3 of the project will be to change over all of the portable radios, and will be finished sometime during 2011 in order to meet the deadline of Jan. 1, 2013.
Stephens said that it is important to get a jump on this project early so that all problems are worked out by the time the mandated changeover is enforced.