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Hytche center arena refitted with new lighting

  • LED lights are brighter, faster reacting & cost-efficient

    Saturday, May 9, 2020
    Social distancing industrial style

    The William P. Hytche Athletic Center is UMES' latest legacy building to go retro-green. 

    Installers from Lighting Maintenance Inc. of Linthicum, Md., spent much of April replacing the metal halide lighting system -- commonplace when the arena opened in 1998 -- with Light Emitting Diode fixtures. 

    Project supervisor Jeff Bateman said a three-man crew, using 40-foot emerald green scissor-lift platforms, converted a system of some 80-to-90 “high bay” 1,000-watt bulbs with 56 energy-efficient LED counterparts, including 32 above the basketball-volleyball court.  Because there were no on-campus activities in compliance with mandatory pandemic mediation steps, contractors were in the building alone most of the time. 

    Bateman said industry standards show LED lights reduce power usage significantly, typically requiring one-third less energy.  Compared to metal halide lights, which typically require five minutes to reach full illumination, the new grid in Hytche can be switched on instantaneously. 

    The conversion was nearly three years in the making and between projected savings on reduced electric bills and qualifying for a rebate incentive program offered by local utility Delmarva Power, athletics department officials figure the $200,000 cost will be recouped in three-to-four years. 

    The new lighting is nearly four times brighter than the old system and meets NCAA standards, which means UMES can resume hosting televised games, including post-season tournament competition. 

    “The (old) system utilized multiple hand-operated knobs to control the different lighting zones,” Bateman said, “while the new light fixtures … have updated networking capabilities to include dimming and touch-screen controls.” 

    Stan Bradley, UMES' associate athletics director for external affairs who researched the conversion, said the digital hardware will enable the university to pre-program the light system so it automatically will utilize the right amount of lighting for specific events - graduations, job fairs, concerts and, of course, sports competitions.