Officials at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are beaming about a $2.1 million lighting upgrade, which they say has dramatically improved visibility and saved on energy costs.

Lights being installed at East County colleges as part of Proposition V. Image via GCCCD
Lights being installed at East County colleges as part of Proposition V. Image via GCCCD

It’s the first project completed under the East County college district’s Proposition V construction bond program, approved in November 2012 with 58.2 percent of the vote.

Energy-efficient LED lights coupled with advanced technology control panels mean better lighting for parking lots and exterior walkways at a fraction of the energy consumed by older, halogen lights, the district said Wednesday.

In addition, more than 8,000 fluorescent lights were replaced with 25-watt, energy-efficient bulbs in most of the buildings and classrooms at both campuses.

These efforts translate into a significant cost-savings over the life of the project, district officials say.

“This is an exciting start to Proposition V, which we are confident will be as transformational as Proposition R, the district’s last construction bond measure, which really brought this district into the digital age,” said Bill Garrett, president of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District governing board. 

“This lighting project will easily pay for itself in energy-related cost-savings, and the future dollars saved can go toward continuing the work we started with Proposition R to provide modern facilities to serve the needs of our students.”

About $1.5 million of the total $398 million Proposition V bond program approved by East County voters were budgeted for the districtwide lighting improvements.

Additional costs were offset by a $78,000 San Diego Gas & Electric rebate and $615,000 in clean-energy funds from the state’s Proposition 39 assets. The college district was one of 19 school districts throughout the state to be awarded dollars last December stemming from the 2012elections that raised taxes on out-of-state corporations to fund clean-energy projects at schools and campuses throughout California.

The district is seeking a second year of Proposition 39 funding to replace the remaining fluorescent bulbs in campus buildings and additional light-emitting diode, or LED, lighting for roadways and walkways.

Pedestrian walkways at Grossmont College and some street lighting at Cuyamaca College received the first-year funding. The Year 2 proposal is being submitted to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office for consideration and approval.

LED lights use at least 75 percent less energy, according to studies, and last about 25 years in contrast to the average four-year life of old incandescent bulbs.

The district used funding from Proposition V, which identified sustainability and energy efficiency as priorities. Also, the program will help fund new instructional and career training facilities, veterans support centers, major renovations, technology and infrastructure upgrades, sustainability initiatives, and enhanced campus accessibility throughout Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges.

The college district’s 2001 construction bond measure, Proposition R, transformed the campuses with more than a dozen new or remodeled high-tech instructional and student-services facilities.

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