Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2007

School board approves contract for Clarksburg lights

Parents, boosters are hoping first night game will be played on newly lit field

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The county school board last month awarded the contract for the installation of the Clarksburg High School stadium lights, but the late approval could mean the lights will not be ready for the first home football game in September.

The Board of Education on July 26 gave the $158,300 contract to Dalton Electric Services Inc. of Burtonsville. The county had hoped the lights would be up by later this month and parents have been looking forward to seeing their children play on a newly lit field when the fall sports season begins.

James Song, the director of the school system’s Division of Construction, said Montgomery County Public Schools is taking steps to expedite the lighting installation.

‘‘We are trying to get the project completed before the Sept. 7 game. That is our goal,” Song said, referring to the first home nighttime game of the season.

If the lights are not ready by that date, the game will be played during the day on Sept. 8, Song said.

The next target day for completion would be Sept. 14 so that the lights would be ready for a night game on Sept. 22, he said.

The materials for the stadium lights will be delivered to the school on Friday and construction will begin on Monday, Song said.

Four hooded light posts will surround Clarksburg’s stadium to limit the glare that the lights would project to the nearby community.

The Clarksburg High School Athletic Booster Club agreed in the spring to pay half of the original cost of the stadium lights, which was then $120,000, making the booster club’s bill $60,000.

Vice President Sue Apple said Monday evening that she is not sure whether the club will be required to pay more money now that the cost is higher.

The club has already raised $50,000 since its inception, said Bern Stapleton, the president of the booster club.

Members of the club raised the money through events such as a silent auction in March. The club already bought a scorer’s table for basketball games and plans to buy extra tarps for the football stadium.

Stapleton said he has heard that Dalton Electric had a good reputation for its work in the county in the past and he was happy the contract was approved for the lights.

‘‘It was a nice relief,” he said. ‘‘It was a lot of hard work that people put in. We got what we were aiming for.”

Now everyone is hoping the lights will be installed in time for the first night game.

‘‘As soon as they put them up, we will start to play night games,” said Mike Riley, the school’s athletic director. ‘‘Hopefully, they will be up shortly.”