By MIKE WEST, Courier Editor
Board of Education voted Thursday (Aug. 8) to move ahead with plans for new lighting for Cannon County High School’s Schwartz Field.
The board heard briefly from electrical engineer Larry Headla of Facilities System Consultants in Knoxville, whose firm will be handling the bidding process.
“What you have in front of you, is our preliminary … actually it is pretty final at this point in time… layout for the field,” Headla said, explaining some slight adjustments may be made based upon bids.
“Actually, we have two levels of lighting. First is our base level which supplies 30 foot candles of lighting. That’s the TSSAA minimum requirement and then there’s an alternate that provides 50 foot candles which is the recommended lighting layout for larger stadiums,” Headla said.
Headla worked with Musco Lighting in working up the plans. Musco does lighting for facilities ranging from Major League Baseball to community tennis courts. Middle Tennessee Electric has also agreed to assist in the upgrade.
Existing lights at the field have been in use 30-plus years with the fixtures needing to be replaced along with the wooden poles, he said.
“The proposal I have in hand would replace the existing overhead wiring with underground wiring making it much less subject to damage and would greatly improve the looks of the facility,” Headla said.
His proposal would also make it possible to upgrade electrical use at the concession stand, which is currently at full capacity.
There was some debate over when work should begin on the project with Headla advising that the project begins next spring due to weather considerations.
“I would not recommend doing it in the dead of the winter,” Headla said. “I would recommend that you let the bids in February with construction beginning in March so we could have the work done by summer.”
“If you knew there wouldn’t be any playoff games,” the process could begin earlier without the concerns raised by adverse winter weather, he said. If the process begins soon, the county would see actual construction beginning in November.
“I can be ready to send it out in two weeks,” he said.
Board member Bruce Daniel moved for the process to begin now. Chairman Randy Gannon seconded. The motion passed on a unanimous voice vote.
In other action, the board voted to extend Director of Schools Barbara Parker’s contract by one year, giving her a $750 raise. That motion was made by Nathan Sanders and seconded by Roy Parker.
That motion passed with Bruce Daniel voting “no.”
In closing, Chairman Gannon praised the contributions of board member Parker, who was serving in his final meeting. Parker was selected for a seat on the board following the death of Mike Mayfield.
“I want to thank Mr. Parker for all of his hard work that he has put in on the board during his current and past terms. I appreciate what he has done,” Gannon said.
Newly elected board member Shelley Walkup was in attendance at the board meeting, as was write-in candidate Frank Walkup. The two Walkups are not related. Frank Walkup entered his name as an alternative to Chris Blackburn, who resigned from the board after the election process was underway.