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LEDs Accommodate University's Diverse Operations

To accommodate a growing enrollment and the need for more classroom space, San Diego State University converted a 5,800-square-foot gymnasium into a 215-person lecture hall



To accommodate a growing enrollment and the need for more classroom space, San Diego State University converted a 5,800-square-foot gymnasium into a 215-person lecture hall. The university started the project in early 2010 and needed to complete it by July 1.

"With such a short timeline, we raced into action," says Jeffrey Herr, an architect in the university’s physical plant department. "One of our top priorities was lighting, so I began conducting research with the goal of lighting the entire lecture hall with leading LED (light-emitting diode) technology, including downlighting and ambient lighting."

The university installed more than 80 Lithonia Lighting RTLEDs for the general ambient lighting and 30 DOM8 LEDs for downlighting. To support the LEDs, the university specified Acuity Brands lighting controls as part of the system.

"The difference or variation required in light levels during classes and presentations is always a concern for our instructional-technology staff," Herr says. "So dimmer controls were essential."

The university expects the LEDs to enhance the educational environment. Dr. James Frazee, who supports faculty in the design, selection, production and distribution of instructional media, is directly involved in construction projects to ensure the spaces facilitate learning. He was an early proponent of LEDs for the lecture hall.

"The LEDs were amazing and helped bring warmth to the space that had no natural light," Frazee says. "The Acuity Brands controls simplified the complicated light systems that previously had up to 12 switches in some classrooms. The new lighting system only requires four switches. And if the lights are on five days a week for eight hours a day, they will last 15 years, which frees up the maintenance staff to focus on more important jobs."


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