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Sports Sweetwater Union High Footbal Field

Sweetwater football program
scores with Holophane retrofit

Lack of good lighting was hampering play on football fields within the Sweetwater Union High School District, located in San Diego, California. In some areas on the district's five fields, footcandle levels measured 8, with dark spots and resulting complaints from players, coaches and spectators.

During a recent retrofit, a 1500-watt quartz system was replaced with 1500-watt metal halide Prismbeam¬ floodlights available from Holophane Corporation. Derry Coughlan, director of maintenance for the Sweetwater district, said the school system had used Holophane fixtures during a previous retrofit.

"We knew that Holophane has a reputation for a quality product," Coughlan described. "We were also able to work with the local sales representative and set up a purchase agreement that resulted in substantial cost savings."

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

Originally, an average of 12 lighting fixtures were mounted per pole. With the beam control provided by the Prismbeam borosilicate prismatic glass lens, this number was decreased to seven or eight, resulting in significantly reduced wattage and improved illumination.

Three light poles are located on both sides of the field in each stadium, with one in the center and the other two evenly spaced on both sides. Pole height ranges from 70 to 90 feet. Footcandle levels measure from 35 to 65.

"The lighting is greatly improved," Coughlan said. "The illumination is much more uniform, which makes it easier for players to perform and spectators to watch."

He added that some of the coaches had expressed concern that the lighting might have a strobing effect on the ball while it was in the air. However, this has not been the case.

"Coaches and players both have commented on how well they like the new system. All of the games are played at night and are videotaped by the coaches, and the lighting has aided this effort," Coughlan said.

The metal halide fixtures are expected to reduce maintenance. Coughlan said that in the past maintenance personnel were up on the poles every year replacing quartz lamps. Projected length of service for the metal halide lamps is four to five years.

"When we started this project, we wanted to improve the lighting on the field and also be cost conscious and energy conservation conscious," Coughlan said. "With the Holophane system, we have been able to meet these goals."

The stadium retrofit project helped Sweetwater Union High School District qualify for an incentive program and energy rebate from San Diego Gas and Electric. The lighting in district classrooms and gymnasiums was also included in the retrofit program.


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