By Mike Grant Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald
---- — MONTGOMERY — The Friday and Saturday night lights at Barr-Reeve basketball games are a little brighter these days. The school system with the help of Energize Indiana has replaced the lighting in the main gym, the old northwest gym and the cafeteria at no cost. In all, the school system converted 73 lights in the school from an old inefficient lighting system to new energy saving small bulb incandescent fixtures.
”I saw something about doing the conversions online,” said Barr-Reeve Superintendent Travis Madison at Monday’s Barr-Reeve School Board meeting. “We checked it out and found we could get a double rebate by doing the changes.”
What would have normally been a $17,000 project will now cost the school system nothing. “We put up the initial money for the work but Energize Indiana is reimbursing us all of those costs,” said Madison.
Energize Indiana is a joint effort headed by the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, participating utilities, and consumer organizations to offer energy savings to communities and schools around the state.
”We know we will be saving money in the long run,” said Madison. “Right now we don’t know how much. These are large areas where the lights are on a lot. We are going to cost it out, but we anticipate we’ll save a couple thousand dollars in each area.”
The school system almost missed out on the project. “We got into it kind of late,” said Madison. “We had to hustle around to find the lighting we needed. Fortunately, Damon Bailey has a business with those lights and he was able to get us what we needed.”
Barr-Reeve officials say they are looking forward to the savings. “We’ve been told they will use about one thirteenth of the energy of the previous lights,” said school board member Galen Graber.
”It is really good that we were able to secure this at no cost,” added member Scott Lottes.
Not only are the lights energy efficient they are brighter. “There is no comparison,” said Barr-Reeve board member Joe Cummings. “It’s just brighter. The lighting has really improved. I like to take photographs at the games and it is much better.”
The lighting system in all the school buildings is something officials are looking at and hoping to do more work on. “All of the lighting in the buildings prior to 2003 is old and we would like to replace it,” said Madison. “We are being told they will stop making the bulbs and the system will become obsolete.”
Replacing the lighting though can be very expensive at the same time schools are looking for ways to save money. “We are going to keep looking for programs like this one where we can secure rebates,” said Madison. “We’ll keep looking for them. That is one way we can update and stretch our dollars. We always have to look for different ways. If the school system has to cover the entire cost of the updates we’ll have to do them a few at a time and just chip away at it.”
The new lighting system has generated some interest in the community for people looking for the old lights. “There are apparently a number of people who use those lights and they have contacted us to buy the old ones,” said Madison. “The state board of accounts has a way they want us to get rid of surplus property. We might have them in a small item auction later in the year.”