Projects will make middle/high school much brighter and safer

Trent Meyer, with the shovel, and Scott Hagen in the loader, removed a six-foot strip of sod from along the sidewalk leading up to the front doors of Caledonia Area Middle/High School last week. Photo by Charlie Warner

By Charlie Warner
Argus Editor

Imagine putting in an entire new lighting system that will provide about twice as much candle power, pay for itself in energy savings in just 40 months and then provide an ongoing savings of over $600 a month for years to come.

Sounds too good to be true? Well it isn’t.

Hoskins Electric of Caledonia completed the installation of 45 new high efficiency florescent fixtures in the gym at Caledonia Area Middle/High School last week. The decade-old lighting system in the gym left much to be desired.

The metal halide lights were very dim.

They were installed above the ventilating system and the steel rafters, which cut the candle power even more.

And it took several minutes for the lights to become completely energized, so once they were turned on in the morning, they were left on all day.

The new system in the gym will provide nearly twice the candle power, come on instantaneously so they can be shut off when the gym is not in use and take about half the amount of electricity to operate.

Willie Hoskins loaded up the scissor lift with the final light fixtures to be installed in the middle/high school gym last week. Photo by Charlie Warner

The gym isn’t the only room that will be receiving a lighting update. Once school is dismissed in June Hoskins will be replacing the old metal halide lights in the commons/lunchroom area and the multipurpose athletic room, which serves as the wrestling and gymnastics practice room.

The lighting project will be paid for through the district’s health and safety fund. The school district levies for capital, based on anticipated projects that qualify for this fund. As the tax money comes in, it is put in a reserve fund and used for projects like this.

“This is a win-win project,” Middle/High School Principal Paul DeMorett said. “Nearly doubling the amount of light for these three areas will provide for a much better environment. And the cost savings for the district will be quite substantial.”

Landscaping project

While Hoskins Electric was working on the lighting project inside the school, Schroeder Landscaping was working on a project outside the building.

Ever since the middle/high school campus was built, there has been a water run-off issue. In the winter when the snow melted, the water would run from the west side of the main sidewalk into the front doors, across to the east side. And as soon as temps dropped, there was a 12 to 15-foot wide sheet of ice that ran completely across the walkway.

“It was a dangerous situation,” DeMorett said. “Staff had to put ice melt on the ice each morning, the salt got tracked into the school, the ice melt would work for a while, more snow would melt, more ice would form and we’d have to deal with the problem again. It was a daily situation.”

DeMorett enlisted the services of head custodian Brian Moe and Brent Schroeder to come up with a remedy for the problem.

A six-foot wide strip of sod is being cut out along both sides of the wide sidewalk in front of the school. Wood chips will be installed along both sides of the walk and will serve as a berm to channel the runoff away from the sidewalk.

Moe said he plans to put ground cover type plants in the wood chips to make it more eye appealing.

“Something needed to be done,” Moe said. “The ice issue was a daily problem in the winter and someone could have slipped and gotten hurt. This should really improve the situation.”

This project is being funded by the one-day bond sale, according to DeMorett.

 You can contact Charlie Warner at [email protected]