The River Bend School District may consider a possible project to upgrade the district’s lights.

Kirk Vanscoy, account manager from BLI Lighting Specialists, attended Monday’s River Bend Board of Education meeting. In 2009, former Superintendent Jane Bauer began speaking with another BLI representative about the possibility of upgrading the district’s lighting system on a large scale. At that time, an estimate of $144,865 was given. However, Vanscoy said this estimate did not include all of the district buildings, such as the bus barns.

Vanscoy encouraged the district to seriously consider upgrading its system at this time. He said this is the opportune time to do it because many of the lights the buildings currently use will be discontinued from manufacturers the summer of 2012.

He also said this is a good time because Illinois Department of Economic Opportunity grants are available for up to 51 percent of the project’s cost. Later in the meeting, board members pointed out that he never did clarify if that 51 percent was guaranteed or if it could be as much as 51 percent. Vanscoy said the district will be forced to make updates eventually with the lights they have being discontinued. He told them if they wait too long, the grants — which are first-come, first served —may not be available.

If the district decides to go ahead with the project and work with BLI, Vanscoy said they would prepare all of the paperwork for the grant application.

The new proposal would include all district buildings for a new estimated total of $153,025.98. With the new system, Vanscoy said they would see a 44 percent reduction in energy costs. He said this would be an annual savings of $30,432.03. He said they would see a return on their investment in 35.2 months.

Within the proposal, BLI would recycle the old fixtures. Board member Mike Ottens asked why the district could not keep or sell the fixtures to make extra money. Vanscoy said that would be the district’s choice. Later in the meeting, Board President Dan Portz agreed with Ottens that the district could use them some way instead of paying a contractor to recycle them.

The board directed the district’s new superintendent, Chuck Holliday, to look into the matter. They agreed this could be something they might want to consider.

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