It’s likely not the first thing on your mind when you pull into the parking lot at Akron High School. When visiting for a night game the average fan may not notice new field lighting but for the players, it’s quite literally a game-changer.
Just ask Andy Molt, the man behind the school’s recent lighting project and the proud dad of number 55. As an Akron resident, parent, school board member and employee of Y-W Electric Association for the last two decades, Andy has a unique perspective on the school’s latest improvement project.
“One of our cooperative values is concern for community so we appreciate the opportunity to support our school system and its students,” Andy stated. Y-W has a long history of working closely with the schools within its territory so when the need for new lighting presented itself Andy knew what to do.
“We looked for ways to replace our lighting for a long time,” said Akron Superintendent Brian Christensen. “With school funding, it was very hard to find a way to get our lights replaced until this opportunity came along.” The opportunity in reference was a chance for the school district to benefit from Y-W Electric Association and Tri-State Generation and Transmission Assoc. rebates to help fund the lighting project. The total lighting cost was about $65,000 in equipment but the two cooperatives were able to provide the school with approximately $24,500 in rebates. Initially, the project was going to require a manlift rental but Tri-State lent a bucket truck and line crew to assist with installation, saving the district additional costs.
It was important that the lights not only looked good but performed well. With more efficient lighting the school was able to replace the existing 87 fixtures with 56 energy-efficient fixtures, saving 121 kilowatts. The LED lighting package was designed with the players in mind. Before the upgrade, it was dark in the outfield and the old lights cast an orange glow on the field, making it difficult to track the ball. Y-W worked with a lighting designer to ensure the lights were bright, but downfacing so as to not be too harsh on the players’ eyes. The improvements give the players a competitive edge and have made Akron’s field one of the nicest, if not the nicest, in northeast Colorado. An added bonus was the improved viewing experience for spectators: parents are now able to see their kids make a catch or hit.
The entire project from the initial rebate request, to lighting design, delivery equipment, and installation took only a few months from start to finish. It was a seemingly simple project that’s making a massive impact for the many players who step onto the diamond.
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Tri-State is a not-for-profit cooperative of 45 members, including 42 electric distribution cooperatives and public power districts in four states, that together deliver reliable, affordable and responsible power to more than a million electricity consumers across nearly 200,000 square miles of the West. For more information about Tri-State and our Responsible Energy Plan, visit www.tristate.coop.