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MANSFIELD — Rapidly rising costs of construction material, including steel, have driven up the price to build and equip a new communications tower in Lucas.

Originally estimated at a cost of around $550,000, the cost of a new 330-foot Multi-Agency Radio Communications System (MARCS) tower will now be around $671,500, Richland County commissioners were told Tuesday morning.

Commissioners, meeting with sheriff’s Capt. Jim Sweat and MARCS representatives Dick Miller and Amanda Spencer, approved seeking bids for the project, which will improve public safety communications in southern Richland County…