Brandywine finds rotting light poles at football field

Published 7:58 am Tuesday, November 16, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Officials from Brandywine Public Schools announced the light poles around the football field at Brandywine Middle-High School would have to be removed due to internal rotting.
The announcement came at the Brandywine Board of Education meeting at the Bell Education Center Monday night.
One of the light poles was blown down by the high winds which swept through Niles Oct. 29 and 30. The downed pole was discovered in the afternoon on Oct. 30.
After an inspection by Tony Leininger from Keller Engineering, Inc. of South Bend, Ind., it was determined all the light poles would share a similar fate if they were not replaced immediately.
Leininger was the architect who designed the bleacher replacement project at Brandywine Middle-High School this past summer.
Gus Damaske, Brandywine Public Schools Director of Finance, said the reason the lightpole blew down was because the center of the pole was severely rotted, while the outside appeared intact.
The light poles were installed at the football field in the mid 60s, making them nearly 40 years old.
The removal of the poles has not been scheduled yet, but will be as soon as workers can be assembled, Damaske said.
Damaske said it would be preferable to pull out the poles completely, but unlikely because it is not know how deep the poles run into the ground.
The poles will most likely be taken down in similar fashion to how trees are cut down.
The existing lighting equipment would be removed from the poles before they're brought down.
The option of buying new, more energy efficient, lighting equipment will also be considered if it will save money in the long run.
Although the light poles will be removed as soon as possible, Damaske said there's no timetable for when new lights would be installed.
Damaske said the district would examine the possibility of using outside sources to fund the lightpole replacement if the money could not be raised by the district.
The district would look to businesses or individuals in the community willing to donate funds for the new poles if outside funding was necessary.
If funding for the light poles can't be found, Damaske said the district will have to look at other ways to work around the problem. One possibility is the football team will play games during the day on Satruday, as opposed to Friday nights.
Damaske said the issue with the light poles came at an opportune time, after football season, when they are not needed.
Brandywine Public Schools Superintendent Gary Rider stressed the need to remove the poles as soon as possible. "This isn't something we want to do, but it is something we have to do," Rider said.