By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
By the start of the 2014 fall sports season, London High School’s stadium field will feature new lighting.
On Feb. 11, the London school board voted to install all new poles and lights. Temporary wood light poles have lit the field since April 2011 when one of the original metal poles snapped.
The district is going with a new manufacturer, Musco, which provides a 25-year warranty on the entire lighting system. The cost of the project will be no more than $235,150.
A tax incentive agreement with Stanley Electric will cover the cost of the project. Stanley, an auto parts maker in London, is launching a major expansion. The school district and the city of London granted Stanley a 15-year, 100 percent tax abatement on the expansion. In return, the company is making a one-time $250,000 payment to the school district in lieu of taxes.
“Stanley was really generous to make that ‘in lieu’ payment up front so that we can move forward with the lighting project,” said Kristine Blind, London City Schools treasurer. “Without that, we would not be able to replace those lights any time soon.”
The school board also approved the transfer of a $60,000 insurance settlement related to the snapped pole from the general fund to the permanent improvement fund. The money will be used as contingency funding for the new lighting project. The district received no money from Valmont, the manufacturer of the original poles.
“I’m very excited about being able to put up lights similar to what we had before. That’s been the goal since the old ones came down,” said Jimmy Wolverton, athletic director.
While the district has made do with the temporary wood poles, Wolverton said he will be glad to see them go.
“We’ll have better illumination on the field with the new poles. The wood ones weren’t tall enough to get the whole field lit the way it should be.”
If all goes according to plan, the new lights will be up in time for the first home games this fall. The boys’ and girls’ soccer teams host home matches on Aug. 21. The football team plays Urbana at home on Aug. 29.
“We would like to thank Stanley for assisting in this project. They have played a major role in lighting our field since it was first built,” Wolverton said.