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JHS gets upgrade during break

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Jemison High School students will return from Christmas break to brighter hallways and a nicer looking interior after the completion of maintenance projects.

E & E Acoustical & Drywall Inc., who was selected as the lowest bid by the Chilton County Board of Education, installed a drop ceiling in the hallways. All the hallway lights were also replaced with LEDs. The needed wiring was installed by Jack Green Electrical, while paint touch ups were completed by Chilton County Schools maintenance staff.

“They are in really good shape for years to come … It looks like a new school,” maintenance supervisor Freddy Smith said.

Smith said the new lighting will be brighter than the fluorescent lights formerly used and will provide a cost savings on the school’s electric bill.

He estimates that the electric bill for the school will decrease by $400-$500 a month.

“The lights will pay for themselves fairly quickly,” Smith said. “LED lighting has come a long way.”

In the past, the cost of LED lighting made upgrading too expensive. Now, Smith said the cost has come down to about $42 a light.

LED is also brighter than traditional lighting.

The LED lights will also save the maintenance department time by eliminating the yearly replacement of ballasts and fluorescent bulbs. Smith said the LED system should last about 10 years.

Eventually, the maintenance supervisor wants to upgrade all of the schools to LED lights. Chilton County High School and Clanton Intermediate School are the only other schools that have them.

The CIS upgrade was made possible through a partnership with Alabama Power.

“After they installed them, they did a study of energy consumption and savings,” Smith said.

He said there has been a significant savings at each of these schools. The LEDs use about a third of the energy that fluorescent lights do.

“There is really no heat output from them, so in the summer time it keeps the hallway cooler,” Smith said.

While Smith said he tries not to call in maintenance crews during the Christmas break, there always seems to be something that needs attention. The recent heavy rains contributed to a leak at CIS, but the damage was taken care of fairly quickly. Smith said once the weather dries up, crews will get on the roof to fix it.

“I have a good crew,” Smith said. “They are really dedicated to their job,”

The next project for the maintenance department will be completing the installation of security lobbies at all of the schools.