Outdoor Lights & Night Skies of Frederick County Middle School

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Written by Anthony Morelli

On September 20, 2018

Outdoor lighting standards are part of Frederick County, VA code added August 12, 2009.  The Code states purpose and intent is to “reduce the impacts of glare, light trespass, and overlighting; promote safety and security; and encourage energy conservation” for all Frederick County outdoor lighting.  The standards apply to installation of new outdoor lighting fixtures or replacement of existing fixtures.  The standards applied to the construction of our new Frederick County Middle School.

Frederick County Middle School (FCMS) at 4661 North Frederick Pike, Winchester, VA opened for the 2016-2017 school year. Tim Chrisman, Director of Facilities Services described the highly adaptable facility in the following YouTube Video: The New FCMS: Design/Sustainability produced by Frederick County Public School Media Network, September 27, 2016.  FCMS is energy efficient and environment friendly.  Through further e-mail communication, he states the outdoor lighting is controlled by a Building Management System (BMS) that schedules the Frederick County Code compatible lights. Indeed, astronomical viewing was another consideration.

Tim Christman states telescopic viewing through the dark skies of rural Frederick County was considered during design and construction of FCMS. Meade Research Telescopes are housed at FCMS. In discussion with Bryan Newman, science teacher at FCMS, the Meade Research Telescopes will be part of this year’s Fall Festival scheduled October 27, 2018.  Viewing through telescopes will happen the evening before the festival on October 26, 2018 to take advantage of minimal outdoor lighting.  Students and neighbors will be invited to both events.

Sydney Delawder, my Lake Holiday next-door neighbor, is enrolled for her first year at FCMS. She shares her thoughts:

There are many things I like about the new FCMS. There is space to work inside and out. With all the windows you get so much sunlight. Some teachers don’t even turn on lights when it’s sunny because of all the natural light coming through the windows. Also I think the front of the school is cool where cross country and track will meet sometimes because there are stairs and benches to sit on and a big open area to meet. They did an excellent job building this school thinking about the environment with a great water system and gigantic rain barrels. So to wrap it all up, I think the new FCMS is a great middle school. Come check it out in October when FCMS hosts a fall festival.

Frederick County Middle School
Night Sky Star Viewing
October 26, 2018

Frederick County Middle School
Gainesboro Elementary School
Fall Festival
October 27, 2018

by Paula Becker and Sydney Delawder

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