Monopoles and Fairfax County Public Schools

Get the facts about monopoles and Fairfax County Public Schools.


As wireless infrastructure is built-out in Fairfax County, public lands are frequently used for telecommunication facilities (monopoles). Public lands include but are not limited to county, school, and park properties.  Wireless telecommunication facilities are also allowed by the County on some private properties.

The monopoles located on school property are currently leased to a variety of cell service providers who locate antennas on the monopoles. Many of the monopoles also carry lighting and are integrated into school playing fields.

Application and Approval Process

When a proposal for a new monopole site is brought to FCPS, staff members from the Office of Chief of Facilities Services and Capital Programs review the proposal with the school principal.  Additional meetings are held by the principal to inform the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA)   of the process. The local School Board members are notified of the pending application.  This process follows School Board Policy 8335 and School Board Regulation 8335.

After initial review and if FCPS deems the proposed site to be feasible, the applicant will be notified and begin the process of filing an official "2232" application with the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Development (DPD).  The DPD prepares a staff report for each monopole application which is reviewed and voted on by the Fairfax County Planning Commission. A public hearing is held prior to a final decision on each application.  The Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance requires special exception approval by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors prior to the installation of any telecommunications monopole or tower.


Monopoles Owned by FCPS 

The hosting school receives a one-time site access fee for each new cell service provider co-locating to the monopole.

FCPS receives recurring monthly rent from cell service providers.  The rents are escalated annually per the terms of the respective lease agreement. 

The hosting school receives 15% of the FCPS income. The remaining 85% is used by the school system to fund emergency preparation technology for the Office of Safety and Security, Department of Information Technology projects, and administrative technology devices.

Monopoles Owned by Private Telecommunications Companies

The hosting school receives a one-time fee for the initial monopole and cell service provider installation. Subsequent cell service providers co-locating to the monopole also pay a one-time site access fee to the school.

FCPS receives recurring monthly rent from the cell service providers.  The rents are escalated annually per the terms of the respective lease agreement. On existing cell service provider leases, 40% of the rent is retained by FCPS, and 60% is retained by the private-sector telecommunications company that owns and maintains the monopole and, manages the cell service provider leases.  On cell service provider leases executed after 2012, 45% is retained by FCPS and 55% is retained by the private-sector telecommunications company. 

The hosting school receives 15% of the FCPS income. The remaining 85% is used by the school system to fund emergency preparation technology for the Office of Safety and Security, Department of Information Technology, and other office technology projects.

FCPS Health and Safety Review

FCPS would not make a business decision on its Wireless Infrastructure (Monopole) program that would jeopardize the health and safety of its students, staff, or the public.  This program conforms to all applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and guidelines.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates cellular and personal communication service carriers and the allowable limits for frequency and electromagnetic field power.  FCC guidelines are identical to those recommended by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements.

The FCC is also responsible for setting standards for safe exposure to radio frequency (RF) emissions (FCC RF Safety).  All applications for new sites must include data on the highest level of emissions that can result from the placement of the monopole and the respective antenna array(s).  The RF emissions from cellular antennas placed on monopoles at FCPS sites have been assessed and found to be well below federal guidelines.  In addition, FCPS contracts to have all sites tested periodically for RF emission levels.  The most recent RF Emission Safety Summary Reports are available in the "Locations of Existing Poles" table below.

Locations of Existing Poles

A total of (30) FCPS school/admin sites host (36) monopoles.  Carriers located on monopoles include AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Clearwire, and DISH.  Following is a listing of those sites and the initial installation year of the respective monopole(s):

School/Center TypeMonopole Install Year(s)Annual RF Emission Safety Summary Report *
High/Secondary Schools  
Annandale High2005Annandale High Summary Report
Bryant Alternative High2006Bryant Alternative High Summary Report
Centreville High (2 Monopoles)1998, 2009Centreville High Summary Report
Chantilly High (2 Monopoles)2000, 2009Chantilly High Summary Report
Edison High2005Edison High Summary Report
Hayfield Secondary2007Hayfield Secondary Summary Report
Herndon High2021Herndon High Summary Report
Justice High2015Justice High Summary Report
Lake Braddock Secondary2013Lake Braddock Secondary Summary Report
Langley High (2 Monopoles)1997, 2010Langley High Summary Report
Lewis High2010Lewis High Summary Report
Madison High2011Currently No Carriers
McLean High2006McLean High Summary Report
Oakton High2005Oakton High Summary Report
Robinson Secondary2006Robinson Secondary Summary Report
South County High2009South County High Summary Report
South Lakes High (2 Monopoles)1998, 2000South Lakes High Summary Report
Thomas Jefferson HSST (2 Monopoles)2001, 2010Thomas Jefferson HSST Summary Report
Westfield High2019Westfield High Summary Report
Middle Schools  
Carson Middle2010Carson Middle Summary Report
Herndon Middle2012Herndon Middle Summary Report
Irving Middle2011Irving Middle Summary Report
Kilmer Middle2015Kilmer Middle Summary Report
Stone Middle2013Stone Middle Summary Report
Thoreau Middle2011Thoreau Middle Summary Report
Twain Middle2015Twain Middle Summary Report
Elementary Schools  
Westgate Elementary2000, 2015 (Replacement Monopole)Westgate Elementary Summary Report
Administrative Centers  
Graham Road Community Building2013Graham Road Community Building Summary Report
Lorton Center1997Lorton Center Summary Report
Woodson Yard2007Woodson Yard Summary Report


* Full RF Emission Safety Reports can be provided upon request to:

Property Management Section
8115 Gatehouse Road,  Suite 3400
Falls Church, Virginia 22042
[email protected]