‘High hopes’ for new dining commons lighting system

By Jaime Hillegonds

Maintenance prepares to install the three trial lights Nov. 21. (Photo by Jaime Hillegonds)

Maintenance prepares to install the three trial lights Nov. 21. (Photo by Jaime Hillegonds)

Maintenance is working on making the dining commons brighter after several lights did not work once Daylight Savings Time began. They are testing a possible new lighting system with three trial lights, installing the magnetic induction lights in the center of the dining commons near the drink machines.

“We want to make sure that it does improve the lighting,” Jerry Gressley, director of physical plant, said. “We’re only going to do three fixtures for samples.”

If the free trial lights, with the exception of the installation costs, are satisfactory, maintenance will be replacing all fourteen of the old fixtures with the new lights this winter.

“If the samples work out, and we like them, we’re going to change them all at Christmas break,” Chad Ralston, maintenance technician and electrician, said.

The new lights are energy and cost efficient.

“What we’re going to put in there is a really good energy saving solution,” Gressley said. “It’ll save us a little over $2,500 a year in electric costs. I think it’s going to be a really nice improvement to what we have. It’ll be better than the original design.”

“Hopefully more light and a lot less energy,” Ralston said.

These lamps will also cut back on maintenance costs because the lamps are advertised to last eighteen years, with a good warranty.

“They warranty them for ten years, a full replacement,” Ralston said.

It is difficult for work to be done in the dining commons during the semester because of how often the building is used, Jerry said.

“It’s a hard location to get to when the students are here, with three meals a day,” Gressley said.

During the past year, the overhead lights in the dining commons have been growing dimmer because the lighting system is old, Gressley said.

“It’s just an old lighting system,” Gressley said. “It needs to be refurbished, and that’s what we’re working on.”

Chad said that maintenance has been trying to fix this dim lighting for almost a year now.

“We tried some other types of lamps in there, some LED-type lamps, but the quality wasn’t what it was advertised to be,” Gressley said.

“We had it all lit up, and we thought we had it pretty nice, but it started going out and the company wouldn’t back [the lighting system], so it just didn’t work out,” Ralston said. “They’re failing all at once. It put us in a bad position.”

Gressley and Ralston said they both are confident about the new lighting system.

“It’s a really good solution,” Gressley said. “We’re hoping that it’s a system that we can eventually take over to the gymnasium and the field house, and that’ll hopefully improve the lighting.”

“This is probably one of the best ideas yet,” Ralston said. “We have high hopes for it.”

UPDATE: The trial light fixtures have been reversed and are now facing the floor. Maintenance will also be “using a slightly softer color of lighting with the final fixtures,” according to an email from Gressley.

“This will help with the glare and the food items will have a truer color,” Gressley said in the email.

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