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New Lighting, Renovated Gym Await New Canaan Kids

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – More economical lights, new gymnasium floors and improved air conditioning are some of the upgrades made at New Canaan Public Schools buildings over the summer.

New Canaan Schools facilities manager Bob Willoughby and other crew members have been at work to improve the district’s five buildings before classes begin Tuesday.

The most noticeable change will be at Saxe Middle School, where the gymnasium was completely renovated. Crews painted the walls, sanded the floor and plan to install new basketball backboards and padding, Willoughby said. “It will be like a new gymnasium,” he said of the $50,000 upgrade.

Students at New Canaan High School may notice new lights over their heads. After an energy audit, high-efficiency fluorescent lighting was installed to replace old metal halide lighting fixtures. The new lights are installed in both New Canaan High gymnasiums as well as the corridors and classrooms.

“It’s the same lighting with half the tubes in it. It’s terrific,” Willoughby said. Although it cost more than $300,000 to install, he said the district expects to save about $38,000 in lighting costs this year.

The district also completed upgrades to rooftop air conditioning units at the elementary schools and at Saxe, Willoughby said. The previous system “was old and antiquated,” he said. The town’s Department of Public Works updated the bus drop-off circle in the rear of South School, which Willoughby credited to Assistant Public Works Director Tiger Mann.

The most anticipated renovation project is the Saxe Auditorium, but that project is at least a year away, Willoughby said.

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