Lighting survey

This photo shows Derby High School and one of its parking lots late at night. Derby schools recently surveyed the lighting at each school across the district and is forming a maintenance schedule.

Derby Public Schools recently performed a survey of the lighting at each school across the district to find out how well lit each facility is at night time.

Matthew Liston, safety and security officer for Derby schools, shared a presentation on the district’s lighting at the school board’s special meeting on March 29. The plan included his observations and ways to address issues with lighting.

“I used to ask business owners a lot that were open during the day: ‘When’s the last time you’ve been by your business at nighttime?’” he said. “Guys that have been managers or owners for four or five years said they’d never seen their buildings at night. So how would they know that bulbs were burnt out or something was wrong if they’re not going out and looking at it at night?”

Liston said new light bulbs and/or poles should be added at some parking lots around the district that are too dark, including Derby Middle School and Derby High School.

Liston is also preparing a maintenance schedule for the existing lights around the district in order to make sure they are working properly and all at full capacity. That schedule includes changing all non-LED lights to LED bulbs and checking on lights at each school.

Even though some of the non-LED bulbs may still be working, Liston said changing them to LEDs will create uniformity and reduce “light trespass,” also known as light pollution.

“Tanglewood, for example, has some lenses that are yellowed over,” he said. “Once we take that light out and put the new LED in, it’ll be a 100% difference of that light.”

Another part of the maintenance schedule will be cleaning out lenses to ensure each light is working at full capacity. Liston said lenses can become filled with dead bugs over time, which greatly reduces their effectiveness.

“We went out and found several places where the bugs have just accumulated inside the lenses,” he said.

Liston found that even Derby North Middle School, one of the district’s newest buildings, had dead bugs inside its lights.

Another easy fix, Liston said, is to make sure that timers are working properly on each light around the district.

Moving forward, Liston said the district should make new light poles at Derby High School’s parking lots a high priority.

Burke Jones, director of operations, said the district should also prioritize lighting at Derby Middle School.

“Probably the highest priority in the district,” he said. “In fact, we’ve had multiple accidents back there.”