The brand new radio system doesn’t resolve the availability hole within the metropolis middle

The $ 642,312 change order to the city’s deal with Motorola will help complete the city’s migration to the Arkansas Wireless Information Network, but does not guarantee wireless coverage in downtown or the Lakeside School District.

A resolution to approve the change order is on the approval agenda of the Board of Directors of Hot Springs Tuesday evening. Acceptance of the contract would increase the cost of the contract to $ 5.23 million, half of which will be paid through corporate accounts such as the city’s water, sewer and waste funds, according to the city. The $ 3.54 million the city made available for the 2.6 temporary funds raised in tax years 2016 and 2017 will pay the balance.

The city expressed concern about AWIN’s limited downtown reach before the board awarded the deal to Motorola in November 2017. The restrictions became apparent during the Confederate Monuments rally in August when Arkansas State Police personnel struggled to communicate with their AWIN radios.

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The installation of a microwave dish in the Army and Navy General Hospital at 105 Reserve St. was seen as a solution to fill the supply gap. The strategic seat overlooking Upper Central Avenue would allow radio signals to travel in and out of downtown and penetrate older buildings such as the Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa.

The bowl was installed when Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, the state agency that oversaw the Arkansas Career Training Institute’s workforce training program, housed at the Army and Navy General Hospital since the federal government charter in 1960, in the summer of 2019 that the building was evacuated.

“We had a setback for our radio system when the governor decided to end the state’s relationship with the federal government over the ACTI property,” Hot Springs fire chief Ed Davis told the board last week. “When they did that, a large part of our radio system, an important part of it, was in danger.

“We used the ACTI main building as one of the legs to support our radio system. In fact, the primary radio communication point for downtown and Malvern Avenue was in the ACTI tower. Closing it not only disrupted the radio communications area, it also disrupted the plan that we had for the microwave chain that supports the return transport of the radio system. “

Davis said other downtown buildings were viewed as host locations, but the city-county communications tower on West Mountain was ultimately chosen.

“There were many reasons not to place our radio system in these buildings,” Davis told the board. “Often times it was bad because the owners weren’t maintaining the buildings well. What would that do if we put the money there and the owner was determined to demolish the building? It would let us down.

“West Mountain is not the best location, but it is the best available location that supports the system, gets it up and running, and is cost-effective. The West Mountain location already has an AWIN shelter. The city and county have a tower there . We have a redevelopment plan for the tower to remove unused infrastructure so that the tower does not need to be reinforced. “

The $ 642,312 change order covers the cost of moving equipment that was recovered from the ACTI building and installed on the City Circle Tower, as well as adjustments to other microwave locations connecting them to the West Mountain site.

Motorola announced that the move to West Mountain removed the original contract’s guarantee that radio signals would penetrate the upper buildings on Central Avenue from Bridge Street to the intersection of Park and Whittington Avenues. The move also removed coverage guarantees at National Park College, Hot Springs Convention Center, Bank OZK Arena, Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa, and elementary schools in Lakeside and Langston.

“It’s still the most advanced system in the state of Arkansas, hardly any,” Davis told the board. “There’s just not going to be the same level of penetration into downtown buildings that we would have had if we brought ACTI online.”

Last year, Davis said most city departments began migrating to AWIN, the state’s interoperable digital microwave communications system, running at a frequency of 700 to 800 MHz, used by more than 900 federal, state, and local agencies in Arkansas . The fire department changed in March. Davis said the police department will switch later that year.

“They’ll migrate to the system when we go online with shipping,” Davis told the board. “Everything should probably be up and running by this time, from August to September. As soon as we have the shipping stable and operational, we’ll start moving LifeNet to the shipping center.

“We have the same plan, the same progress as before. We only had to postpone it for a while because of all the difficulties and problems we had.”

The city said the modernization of the shipping center within the police department and the $ 415,062 paid to federal engineers for consulting work will bring the total cost of the radio project to $ 6.2 million. The remainder of the $ 3.54 million Millage revenue not earmarked for the Motorola contract will be used towards the shipping upgrade.

Garland County began transitioning $ 5.5 million to AWIN in late 2018. Unlike the county, the city requested proposals for a proprietary, self-contained system that is not maintained by the state. The city considered Harris Corp.’s proprietary system proposals made in 2017. and Motorola, but chose Motorola’s AWIN proposal.

The state allows local agencies to join AWIN without paying user fees. In return, the locations build infrastructures such as repeater locations that increase the range, quality and reliability of the network. The county’s expansion was larger than that of the city, hiring Motorola to build communications towers on Pearcy Mountain in Montgomery County and Ouachita Pinnacle Mountain north of Lake Ouachita.

The county has also upgraded existing locations outside the county, such as towers on Jack Mountain in Hot Spring County and High Peak Mountain in Montgomery County, with expanded data and additional channels.

Former city administrator David Frasher turned down a 2016 county proposal for a consolidated city-county shipping center, telling The Sentinel-Record that the city would maintain its own policies and procedures for answering emergency calls and dispatching emergency personnel wool.

In 2018, the city stated that the software used for its computerized shipping system was not compatible with the software used by the county. The consolidation would have required a costly move or waiver of any jurisdiction’s call history database, the city said. The database notifies dispatchers at addresses where service requests have previously been made and enables them to notify law enforcement of possible difficulties on site.

The city-county communications tower on West Mountain. – Photo by Richard Rasmussen from The Sentinel-Record

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