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With a student enrollment of nearly 29,000, the University at Buffalo (UB) is the largest public university in the Northeastern United States. As a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the school hosts home football and soccer games as well as track and field events at UB Stadium. Current televising of NCAA football games in High Definition (HD) required greater illumination of the playing field than the original stadium lights could deliver necessitating the rental of additional lights. Concerned about energy efficiency and operating costs of the existing lighting system, UB approved a permanent lighting upgrade for the stadium. In addition to facilitating HD television broadcasts the new eco-friendly stadium lighting system is reported to be saving the university $70,000 in energy costs annually. This aligns with the school’s energy conservation and green building goals outlined under the UB Green initiative.
Under an $860,000 contract from the University at Buffalo, in conjunction with the New York Power Authority, O’Connell was hired as prime contractor to upgrade the lighting systems at UB Stadium. Project scope involved the construction of eight new stadium light structures, demolition of the four existing structures, trenching for new conduit, cable, and wire, and energizing the new lights by tying into the stadium’s existing power supply.
O’Connell subcontracted the eight new concrete foundations, each over twenty-feet deep, as well as the crane work for both setting and demolishing the light towers. The new light structures were installed, aligned, and powered-up in pairs prior to their single-tower counterparts being decommissioned and dismantled. The four existing light structures were cut apart and lowered to the ground where O’Connell technicians systematically disassembled each of the 108 light fixtures for proper recycling and disposal of their electronics, ballasts, lamps, and glass. The eight new light towers carried only 35 light fixtures each (totaling 152 fewer overall than the four original towers) while providing greater illumination at much higher energy efficiency ratings.
O’Connell executed its project work around active field and stadium events, coordinating the clearing of office personnel and athletes from the UB Stadium buildings and field during scheduled pole lifts. O’Connell and its subcontractors met all project obligations with zero reported safety incidents, beating our deadline to have the new lights up and operational for the first televised NCAA college football game of the season.