The Lights Are Still On: Here’s Why

Abyssinia Haile


Lilli DiGrande, Editor-in-Chief

The lights have been on at Minnechaug for a year and a half, with all 7,000 lights burning bright constantly. The issue has gained national attention, and Aaron Osborne, the assistant superintendent of finance at the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District, spoke to NBC news about the problem a few weeks ago. 

Osborne told NBC news that the district had to work directly with the company Reflex Lighting to find a solution for the lighting issue, but supply chain issues continually pushed back the timeline. 

Currently, Reflex Lighting is working on software programming for the IP addressing system that all the lights work on. Once the database is completed, the company needs at least four consecutive days to work on the issue, which means shutting down the power to the building. Each time the company misses the period during a school break, such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, the lights stay on even longer. 

“We need that four day window and if they have to take the power down for long periods of time where we have students in the building it becomes really challenging,” Osborne said. “The goal is to keep the school open.” 

Despite the difficulties with wasting electricity and losing money, Osborne remains hopeful due to the publication of the NBC news article

“The article helped tremendously,” he said. “Very shortly after the reporter from NBC news reached out to the lighting vendor, I got a call from the CEO of the company asking to talk to me and troubleshoot the issue.”

In just two days, Osborne was able to have more meetings with Reflex Lighting than they’d had in months. 

“We’re very confident that despite the setback they’re going to make sure that this gets done over February break because they understand the bad press issue,” Osborne said. 

But with national attention comes an endless amount of comments; both good and bad.

According to Osborne, “there is no end to the number of [people] out there who have sent or emailed their thoughts on the design of this building. I think it’s easy to play Monday morning quarterback and make those thoughts about what we should’ve, could’ve, would’ve done.”