- photo by Rachael Palinkas/Photo editor
Linfield’s main gym is closed until May 24 while it undergoes an extensive renovation of the lights that glow 50 feet above the now-vacant space.
Replacement of the old beam lights began April 21. The new lights—all 276 of them—are longer in length, similar to other fluorescent bulbs, and are already in the Ad Rutschman Field House and the upper gym.
It is a project Facilities Services planned for a variety of reasons, John Hall, senior director of Facilities Services, said.
The old lighting system needed to be updated. The new retrofit will replace old lamps with more energy-efficient fixtures. Many of the individual lamps needed to be replaced, and the new lights are cheaper, Dan Fiedler, associate director and project manager of Facilities Services, said.
The lights will provide more even light distribution to the gym floor.
“If anything, we’re speculating people will think they’re too bright,” Hall said.
Most fluorescent lights on campus are T8s and were installed as part of a campus-wide lighting retrofit project completed in 1999. The T5 fluorescents being installed in the gym are brighter and thus only appropriate for higher ceilings, Fiedler said.
The project costs about $130,000, Hall said. However, because they are energy-efficient lights, the college is receiving a 25 percent rebate from McMinnville Water and Light and likely another 25 percent discount from state programs.
Hall expects the payback period of the lights to be about four years, meaning the lights will have paid for themselves by that time through energy savings and decreased cost of replacement.
About one third of the old fixtures have been removed. Crews are working on the ceiling a few pieces at a time, completely removing and replacing lights in a third of the gym before moving to the next, Fiedler said.
“It is enough space for the lifts to move around,” Fiedler said.
A lighting designer was hired to create a blueprint for the project that required working around all the obstacles already on the ceiling, including beams, slopes, vents and speakers. Lamps were custom made to accommodate a 22-degree slope in part of the gym ceiling.
All the work is being done by electricians from Farnham Electric Company. To protect the gym floor, workers put a thick tarp on the surface and then laid quarter-inch plywood on top to protect the floor from any damage that could be caused by the three lifts used to hoist workers up to the ceiling. The plywood also ensures the weight is evenly distributed, Fiedler said.
Power to the gym was turned off completely. A fire alarm that rang throughout the Health, Human Performance and Athletics Complex at about 8 p.m. on April 24 was unrelated, Fiedler said. He received a report from Linfield Campus Safety that the alarm had been pulled.
The only problem the project crew has encountered so far was how to get the large lifts in through the gym doors, Fiedler said.
Facilities Services worked with the athletic department to find the best time to put the gym out of commission, Hall said.
However, the college may have missed the opportunity to host former President Bill Clinton, who spoke in McMinnville on April 26. Director of Public Relations Mardi Mileham said the campaign staff left a message with the college inquiring about a facility large enough to host the event.
Auxiliary Services returned the call and said the main gym was out of service.
“We got the call on Wednesday,” Fiedler said. “But we had removed the control panel and cut electricity in the gym on Tuesday, so there was no power.”