FREEMAN PUBLIC LOOKING AT LED LIGHTS
JEREMY WALTNER – PUBLISHER
No action was taken, but officials from Freeman Public are considering having new LED lights installed throughout its buildings either in phases or all at once — a capital project that would cost just over $100,000 for the entire elementary/middle school/high school. That would include both gyms, hallways and classrooms.
The school board learned of the options from Ken Winter of G & R Controls, who presented at its regular monthly meeting last week Monday, March 8. The fully sealed, flat-panel units would replace the bulbs currently being used, provide much better lighting and — because they are contained in a single unit — be much easier to maintain.
“No bugs,” Winter said.
But the biggest benefit, he said, would be the energy savings.
In the middle school/high school hallways, for example, the district is spending $1,000 a year to keep the hallway lights on using the 78 lamps currently in place. With LED lighting, Winter said, that cost drops to $537 annually.
Total energy savings throughout the middle school/high school would be around $10,000 a year.
If Freeman Public outfitted its entire building, Winter said, the district would recover its expense for the turn-key installation in just under 10 years. Winter noted the lifespan of the LED lights is measured in hours and that, if the new LED lights were never turned off, they would last about a decade.
The lifespan of the current fixtures is about 10 years, and school officials noted the district is about at the end of that cycle. Given that, said board member Slade Ammann, it makes sense to make the switch now.
“If we’re at the end of the 10 years here, that’s something worth taking into consideration,” he said.
Ryan Sorensen, owner of Valley Electric, attended the meeting and recommended the change.
“It’s well worth switching to an LED,” he said. “Save a lot of money.”
Winter said the district could do the project in phases or all at once.
The middle school/high school would cost $54,180, which includes both gyms, with an annual savings of $5,347.54.
The elementary wing would cost $47,870, with an annual savings of $4,612.13. On the elementary side, where canned lighting is in place, those would simply be switched out with LED bulbs using the fixtures already in place.
The work, he said, could be done in summer and would take a solid month. Even if the board waited until May to make a decision, it could still be scheduled for the upcoming summer break, Winter said.
Doug McCune, who is an incoming school board member and attended the March 8 meeting, suggested the board bid the project to see if there would be cost savings, even if the project is done in phases and wouldn’t be required to be bid.
Winter said he would be more than happy to put in a bid, and also work with local contractors.
“There’s a lot of avenues we can go down,” Winter told the board. “I will do whatever the district wants us to do.”
School officials are expected to revisit the possible project at its April meeting.
The board also received an update on several other possible capital projects, including a new scoreboard and sound system at the football field/track complex, stat/video boards at the high school gym, skylights for interior classrooms at the middle school/high school and a possible wrestling facility east of the elementary gym. Kunz said an architect confirmed that would be a half-million project that could be bid in August and completed by early 2022.
No action was taken.
For more on the March 8 meeting, see the public notice on page 5B.