As a parent of three daughters, Nick G. Foster, Founder and President of Airwave Advisors knows first-hand what the conversations schools have with the cell tower industry are like. K-12 schools are often viewed as a last resort to place cell towers. Placing cell towers on these schools often receives sharp criticism from the community. Ideally cell towers should go on a commercial land use, however, at times there are limited options of locations to place a cell tower.
We have assisted schools such as the pre-K thru 12 school Sacramento Adventist Academy in maximizing their position with their cell tower lease. Here is what they Board Chair and practicing attorney had to say.
Nick Foster of Airwave Advisors provided tremendous value in helping us better understand our cell tower lease. We can say first-hand that Nick does a great job in not only advising us landlords on the lease agreement but also in leading us to a position to obtain positive results.
Greg F., Board Chair, Sacramento Adventist Academy
In addition to assisting K-12 schools, Mr. Foster has first-hand experience negotiating cell tower lease agreements with San Diego State University.
How are cell towers on schools and universities different?
There are a number of differences when installing a cell tower on a K-12 school vs. installing a cell tower on a university. First is design. Typically if there is a football field, cell tower companies like to attach their antennas to existing Musco light poles (as shown in adjacent photo). Depending on the amount of effort the tenant wants to put into the design, the antennas can be shrouded and entirely concealed from public view.
Universities will typically have multiple cell sites on the campus for the same wireless carrier. The reason they will have more than macro cell site is due to the high concentration of cell phone users in small area. Walk on a college campus today and you will often see students staring down at their iPhone’s while walking from one class to another.
In regards to lease rates and terms, colleges and universities typically can dictate business terms with greater leverage than a K-12 school. This is not to say that a K-12 school does not have leverage in lease discussions, just that colleges and universities due to size of their real estate holdings and the resources at their disposal, typically have a leg up in cell tower lease negotiations.
What should Schools & Universities look out for with cell towers?
First, do not allow a wireless carrier or a tower company to take advantage of you. Often we see tower companies carrying themselves around like bullys. Schools and universities have a say in where they want a cell tower or cell site, and what they want it to look like. Do not allow your future tenant to dictate terms to the school or university.
Second, design is key and stealth design is preferred. Have the antennas hidden from public view. Are they proposing to use existing underground conduit used by the University? Then they need to pay to occupy that space, space the school can no longer use and enjoy. Are they proposing on installing a clock tower or another installation that would compliment the campus? Turn the opportunity into a value-add instead of a potential installation that would be an eye sore.
Who should we contact for help with our lease?
Airwave Advisors is the nation’s leading cell tower lease experts holding an A+ rating with the BBB. With experience assisting many schools with their cell tower infrastructure, we are the go-to experts for the needs of your school or university. Contact us today at (888) 443-5101.
About Nick G. Foster
Since founding Airwave Advisors® in 2014, Mr. Foster has added value to over 400 clients ranging from the State of Nevada, City of Beverly Hills, to Habitat For Humanity. Mr. Foster focuses on cell tower lease renewals, buyouts, new lease negotiation, and cell site lease management. Prior to starting Airwave Advisors® Mr. Foster founded and led the Cell Site Services Group within nationwide commercial real estate services leader Cassidy Turley (now known as Cushman & Wakefield).