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Schools -
College of Willam and Mary

William and Mary lights up campus walkways
with historic-looking Holophane systems

Strolling the brick walkways of the College of William and Mary is like stepping back in time. Ancient trees and red brick buildings reminiscent of eighteenth century architecture link the campus to neighboring Williamsburg, Va., once the capitol of Colonial America.

Previously, walkways through the scenic 80-acre campus were lighted by mushroom-shaped fixtures with white plastic reflectors and 250-watt mercury vapor lamps. Illumination from the units , installed 35 years ago , tended to shine straight down, which had led to frequent requests for additional lighting fixtures to be installed between existing poles. Poles are spaced 100 to 120 feet.

"Because our main concern was student safety, we wanted lighting fixtures that would throw the illumination farther down the walkways, instead of directly around the poles," explained Lyle Wigins, electrical supervisor, College of William and Mary.

Existing units were retrofit with Holophane RSL-350® fixtures with either prismatic borosilicate glass or polycarbonate reflectors and 150-watt high pressure sodium lamps. Wiggins indicated it was less costly to use the polycarbonate reflectors in some areas because of potential vandalism. Both the borosilicate glass and polycarbonate units provide asymmetric light distribution.

The RSL-350 fixtures replaced the existing units one for one, and were mounted on 10-foot cast aluminum, colonial-type poles painted dark brown. A total of 300 units were used along sidewalks and roadways on the old campus, which includes a wooded area.

"After the retrofit, we had the same number of fixtures, but twice the level of light. The new units are also more efficient, with energy usage reduced by almost a third," Wiggins said. Illumination levels are 1.5 to 2 footcandles.

Wiggins added that another advantage of the RSL-350 fixtures is ease of maintenance. Ballasts in the units can be removed and replaced at the site, with repairs later made in the shop , which reduces the amount of time required on top of a ladder. Maintenance generally keeps two extra ballast kits on hand to use as necessary.

The College also retrofit fixtures in the old campus area, with Holophane Arlington® units with 150-watt metal halide lamps installed along roadways and sidewalks. Although the Arlington units appear different on the outside, they have the same ballasts and lens as the RSL-350, making the parts interchangeable. The units were mounted on existing cast iron poles.

"Both the RSL-350 and the Arlington fixtures have a colonial look, so they fit well into the historic campus setting. The units have significantly increased the lighting on the walkways, which has eliminated any further requests for additional fixtures. We have received many compliments on the lighting," Wiggins said.

About 98 percent of the fixtures are controlled by photocells, with the remainder on time clocks. Because of concern for student safety, the fixtures are being spot relamped as needed. Wiggins indicated that campus police check the units each night and report any burned out lamps, then repairs are made the next day.

Enrollment at William and Mary is approximately 16,000.


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