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Acuity Distribution Center

Washington Township

Prismatic lighting provides bright atmosphere
for community pool, gymnasium

The pool at the Washington Township Recreation Center in Centerville, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton, is a swimmer's paradise.

Located in the new 20,000-square-foot natatorium, the structure is C-shaped with eight lanes, a water slide, and a diving well. While a smaller children's pool with fountains and a beach-like play area complements the larger pool, the facility's focal point is an 18' high indoor water slide, set beneath a 300-square-foot skylight.

With so many elements coming into play, the challenge in constructing the natatorium became how to sufficiently light the pool area while keeping glare to a minimum. Since the pool is used for competition, William Prenosil, principal in charge of design, S.E.M. Partners, Inc., Architects, based in Columbus, Ohio, said he was particularly concerned about glare in swimmer's eyes while they are performing the backstroke.

"We needed a combination of light, the softness of indirect illumination, yet the high output provided by direct light," he said. Another concern was maintenance. The number of fixtures located directly over the pool had to be kept low to minimize need for access with long life lamps used.

The fixtures selected are Holophane Prismalume R units with glass reflectors and 400 watt metal halide lamps. Most of the 40 units are placed around the pool perimeter, spaced 12' on center. Four fixtures are directly over the pool, spaced 24' on center.

Holophane's Computer Aided Lighting Analysis (CALA) software was used to determine fixture placement. The units are stem-mounted on the factory-coated, beige cementitious fiber deck ceiling. Mounting height is 17 feet above the floor.

Prenosil indicated that energy was a consideration, particularly since upkeep and heating for the indoor pool are already expensive. "The Washington Township Recreation Center is a nonprofit organization. Therefore, we wanted to do what we could to keep lighting costs down," Prenosil said.

Illumination levels in the natatorium are 60 footcandles maintained, with a slightly lower level directly above the pool where fewer fixtures are utilized. Although the light drops off a little, Prenosil said the difference is not as much as might be expected.

"Throughout the space, the illumination is very uniform," he indicated. "The prismatic glass units are functional and provide a simple elegance without calling attention to themselves."

The Recreation Center hosts a number of large swim meets each year, which are televised by a local cable station. According to Prenosil, the color and picture quality have been excellent, with no hot spots.

David Paice, Washington Township Recreation Center Director, commented: "We are pleased with the brightness and cheeriness of the space. Pool areas tend to be gloomy, but with the Prismalume units, the area is evenly lighted."

Prismalume luminaires are also used in the Recreation Center's 5,000-square-foot gymnasium, which includes a 2,500-square-foot triangular lobby with a climbing wall and an atrium lighted with a skylight. The gymnasium ceiling is off-white acoustical metal deck with exposed bar joists. Prismalume units are mounted 24 feet to the bottom of the joists, spaced on a 16' x 19' grid. Illumination levels are 50 footcandles maintained.

The lobby ceiling, which extends from 24 feet up to 30 feet at the top of the roof, features laminated wood beams. "Because of its odd shape, the lobby was tough to light. With the Prismalume units, we were able to mix the spacing and still get even illumination. The uplight from the fixtures also accentuates the wood on the ceiling," Prenosil described.

While fixtures in the lobby are not illuminated during the day because of the skylight, units in the gymnasium are lighted about 80 hours per week. All units are manually controlled.

"S.E.M. Partners is known as a school architectural firm, and as such, has designed many gymnasiums using Prismalume fixtures. Over the years, we have found the units to be durable, and provide even illumination without shadows or glare," Prenosil said.

Fixtures at the Recreation Center will be periodically cleaned by Center personnel and relamped as needed. Units over the main pool area will be group relamped.


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