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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

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City Seeking Funds for New Minnesota State Mankato Siren

A federal grant could help expedite the installation of a new emergency siren on campus.

2012-07-23
By Dan Linehan, Mankato Free Press

An emergency siren at Minnesota State University that hasn’t worked since 2010 will be replaced quicker than planned if the city receives a $20,000 federal grant.

The wail of the city’s nine other sirens are audible on campus but are sometimes difficult to hear, especially indoors, Mankato Public Safety Director Todd Miller said. The MSU siren, on Val Imm Drive, stopped working during a budget crisis and the city didn’t have the money to replace it, he said.

The university is densely populated and often the site of outdoor gatherings, so they’re looking forward to have the siren replaced, said Ron Fields, assistant vice president for facilities management.

The grant request would require a 25 percent local match for a total cost of $26,382. The City Council is being asked to approve the grant request at its Monday meeting.

“If we don’t get the grant, we’ll have to look at budgeting for it,” Miller said. “While there is coverage there, it could be better.”

This siren, like the rest, will be controlled by the county’s dispatch center. It will be solar-powered because of the energy savings. That adaptation will save more money on two new sirens proposed to be added near the proposed Wal-Mart distribution center and the growing southern portions of the city. The savings there will come because the new sites won’t have to be connected to the power grid.

While a solar-powered storm warning sounds like an oxymoron, Miller said the devices have a battery that makes them reliable.

The city also will have to spend about $5,000 next year to make federally mandated “narrow-banding” upgrades to all the sirens. Sirens rely on radio waves to be activated.

To see more, pick up a copy of the Free Press or visit their website at www.mankatofreepress.com

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