A massive lighting overhaul throughout Union R-XI is nearly complete, Assistant Superintendent Mike Mabe said Monday at a monthly meeting of the school board.

Upgrades throughout the district have been ongoing since the board unanimously approved the project in September 2017.

The upgrades are estimated to save the district up to $113,450 each year on utility bills, according to Control Technology Solutions (CTS), a energy-saving company’s original proposal to the district.

Those savings will come through new lighting and technology like occupancy sensors.

At the start of the project, CTS’s data loggers tracked the actual run hours for lights in the gym, cafeteria and common areas, most lights were on between 12 to 18 hours a day in some areas, with different run times each day.

Occupancy sensors, one of the major parts of the project, will turn lights off when those areas are not occupied, reducing the hours they are on and saving on utility costs.

CTS’s proposal also included upgrading the lighting in the high school gym, cafeteria and main lobby areas to LED fixtures; introducing wireless controls to provide dimming and scene control in those spaces and implementing lighting control systems that will control and configure different scenes, monitor energy use and provide system alerts.

Mabe said the final part of the project will be installing the lights in the high school gym. It was saved last due to the amount of events taking place in the gym over the summer.

The overhaul also aims to cut down the time the school’s maintenance workers spend replacing and trying to maintain the lights, many of which are nearing the end of their projected life spans.

That’s partly because of the extended life expectancy on the type of LED lights CTS proposes the district purchase, they noted.

Cutting costs on energy at the existing schools is an important step towards solving the district’s lingering facility issues, Superintendent Dr. Steve Weinhold said when the project was approved.