Adam Grisier and Sid Ramirez, AHS seniors, appeared before the Archbold school board, Wednesday, Feb. 24, and asked for funding for new stage lighting.
The two explained when the school was built close to 30 years ago, the stage lighting equipment, including the control panel, was state-of-the art.
Today, however, the system is old, and its reliability is questionable.
The boys said the system is “glitchy.” As an example, when the control board is first powered up, the stage lights will suddenly come on at full brightness, then go dark.
Parts to repair the old control board are no longer manufactured.
The boys said one replacement part was found in a pawn shop. It apparently is “the last one on the planet.”
New lights and a lighting system would be all digitally controlled, with LED, or light-emitting diodes, rather than conventional bulbs.
LEDs use much less energy and emit much less heat than conventional bulbs.
Ramirez said after being switched on for five minutes, the current lights are so hot, they can’t be touched.
Grisier and Ramirez said those involved in theatre programs at the school want to do the project in three phases.
The first phase involves updating the infrastructure for the lighting system, including the dimmers (which control the brightness of the lights), a new control board, wiring, and some extras.
The total cost is about $17,000.
The boys said the group backing the project is asking the school board to fund the purchase of the control board, at a cost of $6,188.
The $17,000 figure “is very doable,” the boys said.
So far, the Vocal Music Boosters have donated $2,500 to the project, and have offered to take out a loan to cover the cost.
However, the money the group would use would come from a fund used to pay for trips. Money would have to be raised to repay that fund.
Phases II and III involve replacements of the actual stage lights, which would be done over time.
The total cost to upgrade the stage lighting system is estimated to be about $55,000.
The board asked several questions about the project, including about the contractor.
The boys said Vincent Lighting Systems, of Solon, prepared the quote for the lighting system upgrade.
The company installed the original system when the school was built.
After questioning by the board, the boys said Vincent was the only firm they contacted about the system.
Ramirez said Vincent had done new lighting for both the Valentine and Stranahan theaters in Toledo.
The firm had also installed a lighting system at Perrysburg High School.
Ramirez said he had seen a production at Perrysburg, and the lights worked well.
The board asked about longevity and warranties.
The boys said the control board should last 30 years. LED lights have a longer life than conventional bulbs.
The boys said they didn’t ask about a warranty.
The boys also said a local electrical contractor would have to do some of the work, which is not included in the price.
It is estimated the cost of a local contractor is about $1,000.
Ramirez said the auditorium is used by several groups, including the elementary, middle, and high schools for both choral and band concerts, and by Archbold Community Theatre.
The board took no action on the request.
The next board meeting is Monday, March 14, 5 pm, in the AHS media center.