School board to invest in new LED lights for SHS gym


Seymour High School is looking to shine some light on the largest high school gymnasium in the world.

Opened in 1970, the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium, which seats 8,228 people, still uses an outdated high-intensity discharge metal halide lighting system.

“This is the original system and was the most popular and used system for many years for gymnasiums, airplane hangars and warehouses,” said Dave Stark, director of facilities and grounds for Seymour Community School Corp.

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Although the system continues to work, Stark said it would be to the school and public’s benefit to replace it with a more modern LED lighting system.

“The advancement of LED lighting has now made it possible to light these large areas efficiently and more economically,” Stark said.

With the current system, it takes a few minutes for the lights to warm up to their full capacity, and they use up a lot of electricity.

“The savings, electric-wise, is tremendous,” Stark said. “There also appears to be rebates available through Duke (Energy) that we will apply for.”

The current lighting system also emits more heat and noise than more modern lights and does not provide any flexibility to dim lighting for special events or to accommodate people with sensory issues.

“Technological advances in lighting give us the opportunity to improve crowd safety, gym lighting levels, increase lighting options for different gym events and significantly reduce electrical usage,” Stark said. “LEDs give us so much more flexibility.”

For example, a certain level of lighting is needed on the main gym floor in order to telecast regional and semistate basketball games, but not as much lighting is needed on the upper level.

Other benefits include the improved quality of lighting with LEDs and that they have a longer lifespan, he added.

Stark spoke to the school board about what it will take to relight the gym during a meeting Tuesday night. If every light is replaced, it will require 104 new fixtures, he said.

The board will have the choice of staying with round fixtures or changing to linear ones.

Superintendent Brandon Harpe said administrators are leaning toward sticking with the round lights.

“The good news is we still have the old cable system where we can lower our light fixtures, so we wouldn’t have to use a lift to do that work,” Stark said.

He estimates the project will cost anywhere from $80,000 to $150,000 depending on what fixtures and control systems the board decides to purchase. But overall, the school will save money on its electric bill in the long run, he said.

Stark has reached out to four companies so far for information on options and pricing. They are Biehle Electric of Seymour, Flex Green Lighting of Indianapolis, Kendall Electric, headquartered in Michigan, and Graybar, headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. He plans to come back to the board in March with quotes and total cost savings.

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