Wheatland Center School Board wants more info on latest ATC route proposal


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The above Google Maps Streetview shows the current electrical poles and lines along Highway O in front of Wheatland Center School.

Wheatland Center School Board members will seek more information from the company proposing to run a electrical transmission line by school.

The board discussed the American Transmission Company proposed route for a 69 kilovolt line to connect a proposed 138 kilovolt line along Highway 50 to a substation in Twin Lakes. The current route preferred by ATC would bring the line down Highway O right in front of the the school building. There currently is an electrical service line running on poles in the same location.

If the new ATC line were to go in, the current poles would be replaced with higher wooden poles that would hold the current line as well as the line to the substation, ATC representatives have said.

District administrator Martin McGinley said he has meet with ATC local relations representative Mary Carpenter about the project and was told the proposed line should have little effect on the school.

“I think what it would mean for us is essentially higher poles,” McGinley told the board. “From what I understand, there’s not a lot of impact.”

Because of the higher poles, ATC might need to acquire additional right of way, for which the district would be paid. McGinley said. That could also possibly affect trees planted along the front of the school.

Board member Mary Ochoa-Petersen expressed concern with the proposed line route.

“That’s so close to the school,” Ochoa-Petersen said.

Board President Chris Serak suggested the board have Carpenter attend a future meeting to answer questions and then decide whether it wanted to take a formal position.

If the board did want to take a position, Serak suggested it be done in writing so it had to be included as part of the comment record that will be submitted to the Public Service Commission as part of the route approval process.

In March, the Salem School Board took a position that it did not favor the 138 kilovolt transmission line coming by its school building. ATC officials later re-routed that segment of line farther south, but the most recent proposal again calls for the line to run by Salem School along Highway AH as one of two possible routes through that area in Salem.

Contacted Thursday, Salem district administrator David Milz said the Salem board’s position is still that the line should not run by the school.

ATC officials say building the line between a substation in Salem and a substation in Lake Geneva is needed to improve capacity and reliability of electrical service in the area.

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  1. West of 45 Citizen says:

    Bad Idea, Bad Proposal to run HV lines such in close proximity of any occupied buildings, homes etc and ignore potential long term health concerns does not speak well of ATC. Mary Ochoa-Petersen has a very valid concern.

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