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      Construction underway on new Ottumwa communications tower

      In a matter of weeks, the long process of installing a new communications tower in Ottumwa will be complete.

      Construction began this week on the new E911 tower, which replaces the tower on top of the old St. Joe's Hospital. The actual construction should be finished by the end of the week, pending weather, but the complex process of switching all the information from the old tower to the new one will take longer.

      "I expect the testing and tuning portion to last several weeks to make sure that once all the stuff's done, we can successfully cut over from what we have existing to the new," said Josh Stevens, Coordinator of Wapello County Emergency Management. "So we're looking at probably 45 days, the tower will be up much quicker than that, but by the time we actually make it go live and are depending on it 100%, probably a little further out than that."

      Stevens said the key to getting that transfer completed successfully is to allow plenty of time for the process, and he feels the county has designated plenty of time to do so.