By David Carroll

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)- Students in four Hamilton County schools will have brighter classrooms at a lower cost to taxpayers thanks to Lowe's.

The company's Charitable and Education Foundation is awarding a $100,000 grant to the school district to retrofit lighting at Orchard Knob Middle School, Lookout Mountain Elementary, Woodmore Elementary and Tyner Academy.  The upgrades at the four aging schools will modernize classroom lighting and provide substantial energy savings for the school district.

The grant will allow schools to replace their current fluorescent fixtures with T-8 bulbs that have a higher light output and only use only 28 watts.  The school district recently completed lighting retrofits in 16 of their schools, resulting in more than $430,000 in annual energy costs savings.  

Last year Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation awarded a $77,000 grant to East Ridge High School to help update technology at the school's Construction Academy. The grant supported the purchase of laptop computers, white boards, LCD projectors and construction academy software.  The grant also funded classroom renovations, new safety equipment and an improved ventilation system, making the space safer and healthier for students and staff. Altogether, Lowe's and the Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation have donated more than $1.2 million to education and community improvement projects in Tennessee.

"Lowe's is committed to recognizing and supporting efforts that enrich the lives of our neighbors and customers," said Larry D. Stone, chairman of Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation. "By supporting Hamilton County schools , we are contributing to causes that are important to our customers and employees, and we are helping build a stronger foundation for the children who will be tomorrow's employees, homeowners and community leaders."

The total project cost is $398,820. The grant will provide $100,000 and the remaining money will come from a TVA rebate for energy efficiency.