Lighting upgrade coming to De Pere High School auditorium
By Lee Reinsch
DE PERE — De Pere school board members approved an upgrade to the high school auditorium lighting at their meeting earlier this month.
The upgrade is supposed to make the space function better as a classroom during the times when the auditorium does double duty.
The current house lighting system is 44 years old and is original to the school, which opened in fall of 1977.
In 2000, the district replaced the component which regulates the dimmer function.
Pat Meyer, grounds superintendent for the district, said the lighting system uses halogen bulbs, and with new technology, more lighting products use LED bulbs, making finding the old halogen ones difficult.
Most of the 250-watt tube lights are made outside the U.S. and don’t last long, Meyer said.
He said the board had two choices:
Remove all of the existing lighting fixtures and install new LED fixtures.
This would necessitate replacing the dimming function component as well because the new LED fixtures would use a much smaller electrical load that wouldn’t be compatible with the dimming function.
This option would cost about $110,000.
The second option was to use a theater-grade retrofit light that works with the existing electrical voltage and dimmer system.
Just one company in the U.S. makes the retrofit lights.
Going with this option would mean the district would not have to replace the dimmer system, which was a top-of-the-line product when it was installed 21 years ago, is still in good working order and is still supported by the manufacturer.
The cost would be $56,600 for materials and $7,500 for labor, for a total of $64,100.
The board approved the second option.
In other business, the board heard from De Pere High School Principal Nick Joseph, who gave a report on this year’s Advance Placement student grades.
Eighty percent of the AP students maintained a three score or above.
That’s up 2% over the last two years, when only 78% of students scored three or above, but down from 2017 and 2018, when 85% and 81%, respectively, made the grade.