CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- For some school athletic teams, next fall promises to be a lot brighter.
Both Cleveland and Bradley County school systems have signed contracts with one of the nation's biggest outdoor lighting companies.
Musco Lighting has agreed to provide and maintain equipment for the systems for 20 years. And under separate contracts, lights are expected to be installed over the summer at some schools.
The county school board learned recently that Bradley Central High School needs new light poles. There is no immediate danger, board members were told, but the giant light poles are weakening.
And at Lake Forest Middle School, the school board has agreed to replace field lights that came from Polk County.
For the first time, Cleveland Middle School is getting lights this summer. The school was built 10 years ago with an unlighted field.
In April, the Cleveland Board of Education approved the purchase of lighting for Cleveland Middle School through Iowa-based Musco. The city school system will make three annual payments of nearly $147,000 each.
Bids will be opened Thursday for a contract to install the county schools' lights, said County Schools Energy Director Johnny Mull. The project should begin by June 1 to be finished by Aug. 1, Mull said.
"Lake Forest's have been there since the '80s. They were Polk County's old lights," Mull said. "Bradley's have been there since '74, and there's some structural issues."
The money for the county lighting projects is already in the budget, said Budget Director Rick Smith. The cost is about $70,000 for each of five years, he said, and the money has been budgeted in the past to pay off Walker Valley High School's athletic lights.
"We will purchase the lights from Musco. ... We are actually bidding out the installation of the lights," Smith said.
"So it's not new money in the budget," added board member Troy Weathers.
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