School Board contemplates new track lighting

Friday, May 17, 2019

Alta-Aurelia’s school board is looking to make potential improvements to its football field and track.

Alta Municipal Utility Manager Randy Tilk presented possible solutions for the issue with a lack of lighting around the track at night, looking as feasible ways to upgrade the wiring and move it from overhead to underground.

The resurfaced track currently has a couple lights at the north and south ends, with four poles on each side. The custodian unlocks the track and throws a switch on for football games and track meets.

The problem lies in the set-up itself, a potential safety issue.

The primary switch feeds 2,400 volts down the lines running the track’s length, with a transformer at the end feeding it into each bank of lights. When the transformer falls, it could drop down on the crowd seated on aluminum bleachers during the game—not exactly a crowd pleaser.

It has already fallen down more than once, fortunately not while a game was playing.

“This isn’t something you’d want to see happen,” Tilk said.

Opportunities since 2012 to rectify the issue were not fully seized, he said, and the municipal utility’s 60-foot truck is not tall enough to handle the project alone.

The project aims to bury primary wire from the existing switch pole to the north side of the track, put in a transformer there, and from there lead it into a disconnect, where 200-amp breakers would handle lighting on each side.

LED lights installed as part of the project would also save money on lighting costs.

Directional boring estimates came in at almost $10,000, with an additional $12,000 for a conduit, lights, transformer and other expenses.

This is a bargain compared to the cost of a new installation lighting project for poles, LED lighting and a wiring upgrade, which comes in at around $150,000.

The upgrades could be used to the track well-lit at night as well, for community members that take advantage of it for use.

Board Member Nicky Sleezer said the Board should ask whether the city bears a responsibility in sharing the cost of the upgrade, given the benefit citizens enjoy on school property for non-school functions.

Wire and conduits could be repurposes in the future should the school decide to upgrade lighting.

“The safety issue here is the biggest thing,” Tilk said.

The project, if approved, would start no later than July to be complete by football season this year.