Jack Valluchi of Palm Harbor connects with a pitch from his coach, Bruce Kanapp also of Palm Harbor, Feb. 6 during the Triple-A Blue Jays Little League practice under the brand new lights at the Sunderman Complex.
PALM HARBOR – New, more efficient lights are brightening the fields at Sunderman Complex and will soon be installed at Putnam Park.
“We’re just glad to have them almost done,” Palm Harbor Parks and Recreation Director Erica Lynford said. “In a nutshell, they’re more environmentally friendly, green lighting.”
The new lights use “quite a bit less electricity,” and should result in about a 25 percent savings in electricity costs, she said. The old poles held eight lamps. The newly installed poles need only three lamps to provide sufficient light.
The bulbs themselves are designed to burn longer, the equivalent of 25 years, allowing for 25 years of maintenance-free lighting. That keeps the cranes needed to fix them, previously needed as much as twice a year, off the field.
Additionally, the lights will create less of a disturbance to the surrounding neighbors.
“The new lighting is going to reduce lighting spillover by 50 percent,” Lynford said.
The system also will allow easier maintenance. The fuse box for the older system had been installed 15 feet off the ground.
“We had no in-house ability to get to the fuse box … nothing we could check in-house,” Lynford said.
The new system is not only more accessible, but connected to a computer system that can be remotely accessed – and turned on or off – from a computer or smartphone. The system itself will be smarter, able to identify if a specific bulb is out and allow for more operator control.
“We never had the capability to individually light a field,” Lynford said. “Now we should be able to individualize the lighting so we’re not wasting lights on two fields, if we only need one.”
The lights were paid with Pennies for Pinellas funds. Parks and Recreation received $1 million for the project. However, the project is slated to come in between $60,000 and $70,000 under budget, Lynford said. The extra funds will go to other Parks and Recreation capital projects.
The installation at Sunderman was originally scheduled for the beginning of December, but the start of the project was delayed when the construction company got tied up in another job, not to mention the weather delays, Lynford said.
“They lost a whole week in troubleshooting the complications that we ran into at Sunderman,” she explained.
The construction at Putnam started before the lights at Sunderman were completed.