A bright idea: Edison Middle School installing new lighting this summer

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Nick Crow
Tuesday, June 17, 2014

JANESVILLE — Nearly 1,600 light fixtures throughout Edison Middle School will be replaced this summer with newer, more energy efficient options.

The move will save the district about $60,000 annually in energy costs, said Janesville School District Maintenance Supervisor Dave Leeder.

The project will earn the district $10,000 in rebates from Focus on Energy, a Wisconsin utilities' statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource program, he said.

"There is two sides to this," said Keith Pennington, chief financial officer for the district. "The first is the saving money and being more efficient side. The second is that these lights will create a brighter, better-looking learning environment for students and staff. If students feel good about being here, it will affect student achievement. No one wants to go to a dreary, outdated place."

Leeder said the lighting being replaced was installed when the school opened in 1971. It was efficient at the time but is no longer considered modern, he said.

The project will cost about $500,000 split between the 2013-14 budget and the 2014-15 budget, Pennington said.

"Basically, all of it will be done by the time students are walking in to begin the school year this fall," Pennington said. "It's a good improvement and shows board commitment to keeping facilities in top notch shape."

Pennington said similar improvements are being made this summer at Franklin Middle School. The projects are part of the district's five-year capital improvement plan. Five other schools have been chosen to for future upgrades, Pennington said.

The lighting projects are part of a summer of renovations for the district. Other tasks include roof repair, parking lot replacement, concrete work, fencing, school inspection, floor tile replacement, carpeting, blinds, tuck pointing and tennis court renovation.

"We have $1.6 million for capital improvements this year," Pennington said. "It's the same amount the board was able to commit to capital improvements last year."

Pieper Electric of Milwaukee is handling the installation of the new lighting at Edison.

"We will be providing more lighting for less electricity," Pennington said. "Learning has to be positively affected by better lighting. It makes a difference for both students and staff."

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