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Tanque Verde High School first in Tucson to go green with LED field lights

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  • Claire Place/Tanque Verde Unified School District

Tanque Verde High School Debuts New State-of-the-art LED Field Lighting. Photo Courtesy Tanque Verde Unified School District

The Tanque Verde High School Hawks are proud to be green in more ways than one. Their stadium field will be lighted for the 2015-16 athletics season by the latest in energy efficient, dark-sky compatible, LED lighting systems.

The LED system, installed by MUSCO Lighting, is the “first to be installed in a public school district in Tucson,” according to John Abney, Project Manager for MUSCO.

Tanque Verde High School first in Tucson to go green with LED field lights TanqueVerdeLEDLightsInside

Tanque Verde High School debuts new state-of-the-art LED field lighting. Photo courtesy Tanque Verde Unified School District

Tanque Verde High School was established in 2005, rounding out the district’s former kindergarten through 9th grades, to provide a comprehensive K-12 program.

The TVHS athletic department had been renting portable lights for previous athletic seasons and community events.

Now, athletes, fans, neighbors and the night sky will benefit from the cleaner, quieter, more efficient and refined lighting on the main athletic field of this northeast Tucson high school campus. The project is also accomplishing significant progress toward district goals.

“It marks another step forward for our high school,” Athletic Director Terry Lantz said. “This is a solid show of commitment by the District and Governing Board to our high school program on and off the field. It brings obvious improvements for our football and soccer programs that use the field on a competitive level. It also moves us forward in our goal to provide programs and facilities which invite student and community pride and participation.”

The Governing Board was concerned about the potential effect of field lights on the surrounding neighborhoods, and wanted to provide improved lighting with the least impact to the neighbors. They also wanted to reflect the values of the dark-sky initiative in Tucson.

Tanque Verde Unified School District Governing Board President, Dr. Peter Livingston, said, “We are proud that the district is continuing in our effort to be good stewards of energy through the use of LED lights. The LED lighting system is also the lowest contributor to light pollution, which supports the district’s goal to sustain modern, safe and efficient facilities. This project also reflects our effort to be good neighbors in our community.”

Neighbors immediately surrounding the high school site were invited to participate in a community linkage committee which shared concerns and provided feedback about the lighting and stadium projects.

Following the debut of the lights, one committee member called to congratulate the school and stated, “The lights were exactly what were promised.”

There is virtually no “spill-over” and no “up-light” created by the LED technology when properly shielded, as is the case with the MUSCO LED lighting system. All of the light is directed to the field, unlike some older stadium-lighting systems where as little as 25% of the light produced reaches the field.

The stadium field improvements were approved by the TVUSD Governing Board at their July 29th meeting.

Also recently completed were a district-wide solar power project and an energy-efficiency audit and improvements. These projects were completed in order to bring utilities cost savings to the district. The annual savings from these projects will help bolster the district’s M&O budget, and will be directed toward district programs and facilities improvements such as the vastly improved TVHS field lighting.

Items slated for upgrades in the stadium improvement project include the LED field lighting installed by MUSCO, and an 800-1000 seat capacity bleacher system and press box to be installed by NORCON Industries, Inc. after the football season has concluded.

Fans look forward to the additional seating, which is also badly needed to accommodate the growth of the 7o+ student marching band, as well as the home-game overflow crowd, who now bring lawn chairs and stand along the sidelines of the field. The facility will provide needed seating capacity for graduation ceremonies and other school related community events.

The season home opener vs. San Carlos was held on Friday, August 21st under the new lights, with a traditional Back to School BBQ to kick off the season. It was a record crowd, bringing in the highest gate receipts to date, when the Tanque Verde community turned out to celebrate the new season, and the new lighting! The Hawks donned their school colors, green, black and silver – and they were proud to be green in more ways than one.