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Auburn University

GranVille units light up
"Front Porch" to Auburn University

Samford Park is the "front porch" of sorts for Auburn University, a sprawling historic campus in Auburn, Alabama. The 12-acre park is situated along the main corridor—College Street—in front of the administration building, Samford Hall.

"The park and the entire area is the first thing people see when they make the transition from the city to the campus," described Carl Gagliano, electrical engineer, facilities division, Auburn University.

After Hurricane Opal caused extensive damage to the park in 1995, University administrators decided to—and allocated the budget to—renovate the area. Trees that had been ravaged (some as old as 100 years) were removed and new plantings made. The area was re-graded to improve the drainage and new flower beds created. Previous concrete and asphalt sidewalks were taken out and replaced with concrete walkways edged with decorative red bricks.

The renovation also called for retrofitting the lighting—previously a combination of inexpensive plastic and glass fixtures installed on short wooden poles, supplemented with fixtures installed in the trees. Only a portion of the units were operational, which meant park lighting was spotty, at best.

The system selected for the retrofit is Holophane GranVille® units with 100 watt high pressure sodium lamps. The fixtures, which total 60, are mounted on 10-foot cast iron poles.

Gagliano indicated that fixture selection, in part, was based on earlier research in other campus areas. He related that before he joined the Auburn staff, he had conducted a study of the photometrics of lighting fixtures produced by nearly 30 different manufacturers.

Aesthetics were also primary. A portion of the campus was constructed prior to the Civil War, with Samford Hall first built in 1840. After the building burned in the late 1800s, it was reconstructed on the same site, which is part of the oldest and most historic section of the campus. The red-brick, High Victorian and Romanesque-style building is three stories high and has two towers—one with a carillon.

The GranVille units help re-create the look of bygone eras. Yet, with their attractive glass globes, they will blend well with structures and elements added to the park in the future. The unit's shape does not date it.

The pinkish color cast by the high pressure sodium lamps also blends well with other campus buildings in the area, most of which are red brick. Gagliano indicated that while the objective was to increase the light levels, he said he did not want to illuminate the park with a stark, white light. High pressure sodium is also more efficient than metal halide.

GranVille fixtures are installed along walkways, spaced 60 to 80 feet. Because this is a highly traveled area, the park is crisscrossed by a number of sidewalks. In some locations—for instance, in front of Samford Hall—the concrete and brick form a circular shape to allow groups to gather.

Holophane's Computer Aided Lighting Analysis (CALA) software was initially used to determine fixture placement.

Because the sidewalks run in different directions and the fact the building fronts along the park are not symmetrical, the lighting design could not be symmetrical, either. Despite the varied spacing, the illumination is quite uniform because the GranVille lens is photometrically efficient. Illumination levels average 2 footcandles.

The GranVille units are proving they can withstand the rigors of campus life, which include collisions with footballs and bicycles, and vandalism. The fixtures are controlled by a photocell, and are spot relamped as needed.

"We feel there has been a significant improvement made—both from an aesthetic standpoint and in product performance. Footcandle levels are four to five times as great as what we had with the previous fixtures. This area has more light than the average shopping center parking lot," said Gagliano.

The renovation project has received a beautification award from the city. Due to budget constraints, the renovation has been spread out over a four-year period, with a small area left to do.


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