Dr. Michael Perry is, literally, lighting the way for a new generation of outdoor sports arenas across the nation.
When the first phase of the 73-acre Oxford-Lafayette Sportsplex is completed in the spring of 2014, the $1.5 million multi-sports facility, located six miles south of Oxford in Lafayette County, will be unique in the state. The facility offers competitive soccer, baseball, football and softball to a 20-county area in North Mississippi.
The privately funded Sportsplex is distinguished by the advanced technology that Perry, a Brandon, Mississippi native and Oxford dentist, is bringing to the complex.
“We recently completed installation of our first set of LED lights at the soccer field,” Perry said.
Soon to be installed on two other soccer fields and four baseball fields at the facility as part of the Phase I rollout of the seven-field Sportsplex, the LED (light emitting diode) lights provide 12 o’clock noon lighting for players and spectators that can be adjusted to reflect any time of day.
“The clarity is amazing. When turned on, you can instantly see the difference between LED and metal halide lamps that are the standard for most complexes,” Perry said. “This LED lighting is camera ready. ESPN could broadcast from these fields. The simulator overlaps each pole at each stage. With traditional lighting systems, a person has to point or focus each bulb.”
Perry’s research on LED lighting showed that there were no fields lighted by LED technology in the entire country a year ago. And according to Lighting OEM, the company that manufacturers the lighting in China, there are still very few sports or recreational facilities anywhere in the United States that utilize the technology.
“We are somewhat of a test market, but this is not new technology. It has been around about ten years,” Perry said.
Beyond the clarity and the alignment capability that is built into LED lighting system, Perry says there are other advantages to LED lighting as well.
“Unlike metal halide lights that take about 20 minutes to light up, LED is instant lighting, just like switching on a light in your living room,” Perry said.
According to Perry, LED lighting options also deliver much longer life spans, ten years or more, virtually eliminating lighting maintenance for extended periods of time.
Still, however, Perry said the biggest reason why cities and other institutions across the nation will inevitably adopt LED lighting is that it is an economic choice.
“These lights are much more cost efficient and environmentally friendly,” Perry said. “LED lighting could cut the electrical cost for a city by 80 percent. To operate one panel of LED lights (70 individual lights) is about the same cost as running your ceiling fan with bulbs. If the cost to operate metal halide lights is $1,000, our cost is $150. When it is all said and done, the initial cost of installing LED lighting is similar to traditional lighting systems, but the savings in electricity over the long run is enormous.”
Already, with only two soccer tournaments having been played and baseball fields not set to open until next February, Perry believes the Oxford-Lafayette Sportsplex is showing every sign of being a runaway success with the new LED lights literally lighting the way.
Written by Michael Harrelson, a contributing writer from The Media Store, LLC.