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Sun, Oct. 20

Bradshaw Mountain Middle School uses satellites to control new athletic field lights

Bradhsaw Mountain Middle School athletic director Brad Grauberger, left, and Principal Brian Bucholtz demonstrate how they can control the athletic field lights from either on site or remotely through the internet.

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier

Bradhsaw Mountain Middle School athletic director Brad Grauberger, left, and Principal Brian Bucholtz demonstrate how they can control the athletic field lights from either on site or remotely through the internet. Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT VALLEY - Bradshaw Mountain Middle School Principal Brian Buchholtz can control the lights on the football and baseball fields from anywhere - as long as he has Internet access.

Buchholtz and Athletic Director Brad Grauberger control the lights with a computer-satellite link.

Crews installed the new Musco Lighting this past spring as part of the district's bond projects. Voters approved the $41 million bond during the 2006 General Election.

"One of the neat things is that before the lights even arrived from the manufacturer, they were already programmed. They were preset before they went on the towers," Buchholtz said.

Grauberger said the company used diagrams of the fields to "cover as much ground as possible."

At first, Grauberger said he did not think they had enough lights on the poles. However, once they came on, he realized "there are no dark spots on the field, which is important when a baseball is coming at you at 90 miles an hour."

The goal was to have the lights aim directly on the fields, with little spillover outside the immediate area. This, he said, reduces complaints from residents about the lights ruining the view of the night sky.

Buchholtz and Grauberger control the lights by computer. They can set the lights to come on or go off in 15-minute intervals.

Buchholtz said they typically use the "sunset" feature, turning the lights on at dusk. The men decide how long they think a game will last, and program a shut-off time.

"We control everything from the office. We can program an entire season into the computer. If a game goes into overtime, we can manually override the shut-off time," Grauberger said.

"In addition to energy savings, there is a cost savings because we do not have to pay a custodian to turn the lights on and off," Buchholtz said.

The new lights also allow school officials to track school events or community use such as Little League and Arizona Youth Soccer Organization.

N.L. Booth & Son, Inc. Executive Vice President Robert Booth, the district's construction contractor, said Musco Lighting offers "green lighting."

During the 25-year life of the lamps, which is also the length of the warranty, HUSD will save an estimated $320,720. The district does not have to pay for lamp replacement or any other maintenance costs.

"I believe this to be very significant that the school district has a 25-year full service warranty. If a bulb burns out or if there is any other issue with the lights, the manufacturer will replace/repair the problem," Booth said.

The contractor said that because of the "green lighting," the school district received a rebate (between $12,000 and $15,000) from the power company.

Buchholtz and Grauberger said the new lights are so easy to program, they could program an entire season in 15 minutes and the entire athletic schedule in an hour.

Contact the reporter at prhoden@prescottaz.com

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