Power play: New lights for Messa Rink highlight summer projects list

Publication Date

Think the spotlight that shone on the NCAA Division I men’s hockey national champions couldn’t get any brighter? Think again.

When the team raises the championship banner at its home opener against American International Oct. 10, Messa Rink at Achilles Center will be illuminated by a new, innovative LED lighting system that to those on the ice and in the bleachers will seem like, well, night and day.

Gone are the bulky, antiquated energy-eating metal halide lights that often cast shadows in corners of the 2,200-seat arena and made viewers at home wonder if something was askew with the brightness button on their television.

Taking their place alongside the collection of conference and tournament championship banners that hang from the ceiling, these new energy-efficient lights will significantly reduce power consumption and improve the look of the rink.

“When these lights are on, it’s amazing,” Jimmy Clark Sr. of Facilities Services said one afternoon while taking a break from swapping out the old fixtures with the new ones from Ephesus Lighting. He and colleague Bob Arket spent two weeks this summer climbing into a boom lift to install 76 new lights over the rink and another eight around the bleachers.

“You will especially notice the difference in the south part of the rink. There were some dark spots in the corners down there. That won’t be the case anymore,” Clark said.

Opened in 1975, Messa Rink is one of the College’s highest energy consumers on campus, behind only Science and Engineering. The College has been looking at ways to make the arena more energy efficient. Two hockey players, Cole Ikkala ’14 and Troy Grosenick ’14, even presented on the topic during the Steinmetz Symposium in 2012.

The new lights are expected to reduce the rink’s energy usage by 352,680 kilowatt hours annually, shaving $35,000 off the energy bill, according to Marc Donovan, assistant director of Facilities. The new lights cost approximately $300,000, with National Grid kicking in $55,000 in energy incentives toward the cost.

And unlike the old lights, the new fixtures are virtually maintenance-free, which will result in additional savings to the operating budget. And the lights don’t take long to power on.

“It will be nice not to have to change out the lights every season,” Clark said.

Besides the replacement of lights in Messa, crews from Facilities and outside contractors are working on a number of projects this summer, including the renovation of the men’s bathroom on the first floor of Steinmetz Hall, the installation of sprinkler systems in a number of College-owned homes on Seward Place and lighting upgrades for Taylor Music Center.

Crews have also been dealing with routine tasks like cleaning and painting dozens of rooms to get the campus in shape for the new academic year.

And of course, work continues on the major renovation of the Humanities building. A lead gift from the Karp Family Foundation supports the project, which includes electronic multi-media classrooms, a seminar room, a media lab and a performance classroom that will facilitate staging components such as dramatic readings as part of the classroom experience.

The building will be renamed Karp Hall when it reopens for the winter term.