Clarkson receives bequest of $1.8 million for lighting upgrades and new softball field
Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - 6:29 am

POTSDAM -- A bequest of $1.8 million to Clarkson University will be used to update lighting in campus buildings and build a new ball field for the new women’s softball team.

The lighting project involves replacing more than 19,000 old and inefficient high-wattage fluorescent light fixtures and other lamps with significantly more efficient lights.

The new lighting is expected to save the university $400,000 a year in electric costs.

The project had its origins in a student research project that focused on electricity savings that could be achieved by installing occupancy sensors (also known as “motion sensors”) to control lighting in 16 high-use classrooms and lecture halls.

An added bonus is that the lighting project qualifies for a major subsidy estimated at $550,000 from electric power provider National Grid that would be applied toward the installation cost.

“The good news is that the project is not as expensive as it might have been, as the vast majority of light replacements are retrofit kits, which retain the existing metal light trough and only replace the ‘guts’ of the light, so that the new energy-efficient bulbs are matched with the correct energy efficient ballast,” says Ian Hazen, director of facilities and services.

In all, nearly 62,000 lamps will be replaced across the campus. “It’s a major undertaking,” Hazen said, “but we have been underway on the project since January. We’ve now completed the Center for Advanced Materials Building and Rowley Labs and have moved into the Clarkson Science Center.” The project is expected to be done by late 2013.

The women’s softball field, now in the design phase, will be named “Scott Field” in honor of the donors. It will be along the Clarkson Entrance Road off Route 11 at the western border of the hill campus, now the site of Clarkson Field, which is used largely for intramurals and practice. Clarkson Field will be slightly relocated in the process.

Athletics Director Steve Yianoukos expresses excitement about the advent of Clarkson’s newest varsity sport and its new playing venue. “Women’s softball will be our 20th intercollegiate team,” he says, “and it’s terrific that they will be playing on a new field.”

In July, the university hired a head coach, Kristen McGaughey, who was assistant softball coach at Bethany College in West Virginia. McGaughey is now recruiting Clarkson’s inaugural team, which will begin Liberty League play in the spring of 2014.

The bequest, from the estates of 1960 Clarkson graduate Thomas G. Scott and his wife, Sarajean Scott, of West Friendship, Md.

“Thanks to the Scotts’ generosity, Clarkson is able to address two strategic priorities: we will significantly reduce our energy bill and carbon footprint, and we will have a brand new athletic field for our newest varsity sport,” said Clarkson President Tony Collins. “Increasing our female undergraduate enrollment is a high priority and this program will definitely help the university achieve that objective.”