The stadium lights at Copper Hills aren’t doing their job, says neighborAug 11, 2021 12:40PM ● By Greg James
Copper Hills High School’s stadium lighting has come under scrutiny; it is unsafe and pollutes the nearby neighborhood. (Greg James/City Journals)
By Greg James | [email protected]
Neighbors of Copper Hills High School’s football stadium have been overrun by light pollution.
“The lights at Copper Hills are old,” school neighbor Janet Blackmer said. “I believe the heads (lighting bulbs and structures) have been changed out, but the wiring has been defective, and they are pointed out toward the neighborhood.”
Blackmer is not interested in sports. She lives near the stadium, but she supports making the stadium better for the athletes.
“I want the kids to do what they do,” Blackmer said. “We are severely impacted by those lights. It comes in our yards and windows, and it can be dangerous to drive near the stadium because the light blares into our streets. I had the mayor come and see what we are dealing with. He was stunned.”
The excessive or inappropriate use of light is called light pollution. The stand lights installed on most football fields in the Salt Lake Valley are flood lights. Those lights are inefficient and send light not only to the field but also to the surrounding neighborhood.
“It does not give the proper amount of light to the students using the field,” Blackmer said. “They are using it more often now for football, lacrosse and other activities. I had a sports lighting company do an assessment, and they determined the lighting was insufficient for it to be safe.”
The cost of a new lighting system can be daunting. Jordan School District officials have listened to the proposal and have given the neighbors an opportunity to have it replaced.
“I have been working with the school for about a year,” Blackmer said. “The school board would like to have new lights, but they have a budget and so I have started the process.”
Replacing the field lights will cost an estimated $450,000.
Blackmer has established a website (sucessfund.com/ledlights) where donations can be accepted and is planning an auction in November to raise money. She has also approached corporations to solicit the means needed to make the change.
Musco Lighting specializes in the design and manufacture of sports lighting systems. Company representatives studied the current lights at Copper Hills and found them to be dangerous and less efficient than they could be.
“LED lights can be downward facing and direct the light to the field,” Blackmer said. “The Musco representative told me the light is in the eyes of the spectators. He was not sure how they could even see the games.”
Creating controlled light is the goal for any new system. A new LED lighting system can direct the light to the field and control light spillage. It can also save money by having less energy consumption.
The new system would replace the current 75-foot stands with four 100-foot stands.
“I have been talking to the school for a long time,” Blackmer said. “They have had the patience of Job. I really want more community support. At some point the bulbs will become obsolete. I think awareness will help.”
Tooele High School, Park City and the new schools built around the valley all have the new LED lighting systems. Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City has recently installed an LED system.