Case Study: Purdue’s Mackey Arena LED Project

“Boiler-Up!” – Purdue’s Mackey Arena upgrades to LED Lighting for a 21st Century State-Of-The-Art Basketball Experience

Mackey Arena, home of the Purdue University Boilermakers, upgrades to a high output LED lighting system as part of a 10-year capital renovation plan.

Built in 1965, Purdue University’s Mackey Arena went with virtually no renovations over its first 40 years. With a national reputation as a premium college hoops venue, the University’s Board of Trustees voted in May of 2007 to launch a $99.5 million capital project to bring the arena into the 21st century, while preserving its rich history and tradition. In 2015, as part of the massive renovation project, Indianapolis based C.M. Buck & Associates, and Indianapolis based Associated Controls + Design assisted in sourcing and installing a turn-key LED lighting solution for this legendary arena often in the NCAA spotlight.

A 14,846 seat home to the Purdue University men’s and women’s basketball teams, Mackey Arena is a venue in which student-athletes and coaches must always be on their A game, and the overall fan experience is a high priority. Perfect illumination plays a key role in that experience. With the large renovation project commissioned by the University, it was imperative to assess the lighting in the arena, and update to a high quality consistent solution, so as to not only enhance the experience for the student-athletes and coaches, but also for the fans, broadcasters, and TV viewers.

C.M. Buck & Associates, a provider of power, lighting, and OEM solutions from leading manufacturers knew just which lighting solution provider to bring to the table for the project – Ephesus Lighting and their innovative high output LED solutions for sports and entertainment venues.

To significantly increase and improve the illumination on Keady Court (named after legendary Purdue coach Gene Keady in 1997), the existing metal halide fixtures were replaced with Ephesus Arena 600 Series luminaires. The old lighting system contained (108) 1000 watt fixtures – (48) on each of the two linear trusses, and (12) on a TV truss. Because of the inherently long start-up time for metal halide lamps, the existing system was typically left on all day, even when no one was in the arena. Additionally, the lighting was uneven, and the court was inadequately illuminated.

The replacement system uses far fewer luminaires – with only (36) units on the linear trusses, and (6) more on the TV truss. A reduction of over 78% in energy use! Since LEDs are instant on, the lights are now only used when needed, reducing the total energy use even more. The Ephesus Arena 600 Series luminaires provide a higher light level, exceeding all NCAA and broadcasting requirements, and offer a much better uniformity across the playing surface than the previous system.

There are a number of benefits that Purdue University will realize from the upgrade in lighting at Mackey Arena, including:

  • A significant increase in overall average illumination on the court
  • More consistent color, and uniformity for all events in the arena
  • A well-lit court for everyone’s enjoyment, from players to fans
  • Potential for LED lights to be incorporated into pre-game light shows
  • A virtually maintenance free lighting system
  • Guaranteed light level over the entire ten year warranty

“We are pleased to welcome Mackey Arena, and the Purdue University players and fans to the future of sports lighting,” said Mike Lorenz, President of Ephesus Lighting. “Like many other facilities that have made the switch to our LED lighting solution, the players, the fans, and the broadcasters will see a better game under the higher quality consistent lighting that LEDs provide.”

“We are honored to have been able to help facilitate such an important improvement for coaches, players and fans. The new LED lighting will not only enhance the overall experience in the venue, but also continue to preserve and celebrate the rich history and tradition of Mackey Arena and Purdue athletics for years to come,” said David Simpson, VP of Lighting at C.M. Buck. “Our associates, Kim Winship and Mike Brubaker, led our turn-key team every step of the way to make sure the job was installed correctly and quickly.”

A 21st Century, state-of-the-art basketball experience indeed, plus better utilization of the space for the entire university and sports program. Adding innovative LED lighting solutions to Mackey Arena – definitely a shining moment for C.M. Buck & Associates and Associated Controls + Design.

Download a full copy of our Purdue’s Mackey Arena LED Case Study.

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