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Sports UT Martin Recreation Center

UT at Martin depends on Holophane lighting in new
Student Recreation Center for flexibility & efficiency

Fitness is so important to young people these days that it often becomes part of the selection criteria when choosing a university or college. Students want to be able to engage in a variety of activities—from running and working out on machines to group sports.

UT Martin Rec Center

Recognizing that fitness is such a high priority, the University of Tennessee at Martin recently constructed a 96,000-square-foot student recreation and wellness center designed to meet the needs of its 8,000 student residents and commuters. The facility includes a cardio room, a gymnasium that is divided into four separate gyms and an indoor track located over the gym.

While the recreation and wellness center is designed to encourage student fitness, the facility will be used for any number of campus events such as banquets, presentations and meetings. The lighting system, therefore, had to be bright and uniform enough to accommodate sports and fitness activities, yet flexible enough to effectively illuminate student and community gatherings.

“The lighting has a tremendous impact on the way occupants within the space feel—whether they are there for more strenuous activities or a presentation,” said Josh Holtgrewe, P.E. LEED AP, Allen Hoshall Engineering, Memphis. “Security is also an issue for this state-of-the-art facility, which made the owners adamant about providing high quality lighting.”

UT Martin Rec CenterThe recreation and wellness center was designed with a combination of high intensity discharge (HID) and fluorescent fixtures to provide the light levels and flexibility needed. Holophane Prismalume® fixtures with 400-watt pulse start metal halide lamps were installed as the primary source in the gyms and cardio room, with Illumibay® units with advanced Ideal Synergetic Distribution (ISD) SuperGlass optics used in the gymnasium for meetings. Each Illumibay fixture has six 57-watt compact fluorescent lamps.

“I have specified Holophane lighting systems for projects in the past and knew the luminaires would provide the light levels needed while using fewer watts per square foot than other luminaires,” Holtgrewe said. “At one point, we considered installing a fluorescent system as the sole light source but decided this alternative was not economically feasible.”

Ninety-one Prismalume fixtures were installed in the gyms and cardio room, supplemented by 60 Illumibay luminaires installed in the gymnasium only. All fixtures are mounted 30 feet above the composite wood floor, with the fixtures 10 feet above the running track on the second level.
The Prismalume luminaires are spaced 15’ x 20’ and the Illumibay units spaced 20’ x 30’. Fixture placement varies in some areas to accommodate duct work on the exposed metal deck ceiling and the walls used to divide the gyms.

Light levels differ based on the facility’s use and the fixtures illuminated. The Prismalume fixtures alone provide 75 footcandles, although levels can be increased to 80, 85 and 90 footcandles by illuminating some of the fluorescent units. Light levels when the Illumibay fixtures are used for presentations and meetings range from 5 to 15 footcandles. Maximum to minimum levels are 3.5:1, with average to minimum 3:1.  

 “We wanted the university to be able to step down the lighting when only one or two of the gyms are in use or the facility is hosting a banquet or meeting,” Holtgrewe said. “The Prismalume and Illumibay fixtures provide the flexibility and control the University requires to light a variety of activities and events.”

The fluorescent fixtures are manually switched from a panel inside the gymnasium, with the HID units managed from a control desk that allows users to monitor how the facility is being used. Controlling the luminaires from the desk also prevents students from accidentally turning the units off and waiting for them to restrike before activities can resume. 

UT Martin Rec Center

The student recreation and wellness center opened in February, with the lighting system receiving praise.

“The lighting fixtures help create an attractive and highly flexible environment,” Holtgrewe said. “Light levels are high enough that students using the elliptical machines can read their email or study for tests on the screens provided while they complete their workout.”

Holtgrewe indicated the university will likely develop a schedule for routine luminaire cleaning and maintenance.


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