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Clarkson University "Turning Down the Light (Bill)" and Building a "Field of Dreams"
Thanks to a remarkable bequest of $1.8 million received from the estates of Thomas G. ’60 and Sarajean Scott, of West Friendship, Md., Clarkson University is now addressing two major institutional priorities: a comprehensive retrofit of campus interior lighting and building a playing field for the University’s newest varsity team -- women’s softball.
Clarkson is currently utilizing more than $1 million of the testamentary gift to lower its utility bill, or stated differently, to “turn down the light bill.”
The project, dubbed “the T12 lighting upgrade,” involves replacing more than 19,000 aged (and inefficient) T12 high-wattage fluorescent light fixtures with a combination of significantly more efficient T8 and T5 lights, and replacing so-called “high bay” lights (located in high-ceiling buildings like the Fuller Pool, Schuler Indoor Recreation Center and High Structures Lab) with T5 lights.
The project had its origins in a 2011-2012 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.
Last spring, the students, led by then-sophomore Jason Cocca, determined that by installing the sensors, the University could reduce electrical use in those spaces by nearly 14 percent and save more than $2,500 annually. The team won a Clarkson Student Sustainability Program Innovation Award for their efforts and their recommendations were incorporated into the T12 Lighting Upgrade Project.
At approximately $400,000 per year, the estimated savings that will result from the larger lighting retrofit project is no small matter. An added bonus is that the lighting project qualifies for a major subsidy estimated at $550,000 from National Grid, the University’s electric utility, that has to 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 ’96, director of facilities and services.
In all, nearly 62,000 lamps will be replaced across the campus. “It’s a major undertaking,” he adds, “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 T12 Lighting Upgrade project is estimated for completion by late 2013.
The generosity of Thomas and Sarajean Scott, which is allowing Clarkson to “turn down the light bill,” will soon be permanently recognized by the placement of a plaque in a most fitting location: the recently constructed offices of the Institute for a Sustainable Environment, located in the Technology Advancement Center building, which was certified LEED Gold in late 2011.
The women’s softball field, currently in the design phase, will be named “Scott Field” in honor of the donors. It will be located along the Clarkson Entrance Road off Route 11 at the westerly border of the hill campus, presently 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 previously served as 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.
“In a real sense,” Yianoukos notes, “Scott Field will be a ‘field of dreams’ for our first women’s softball team. Softball is a popular sport at the collegiate level and we believe this will be received as a great addition to our athletic landscape allowing us to compete for female student-athletes who would previously have not considered Clarkson in their list of colleges to consider attending.”
The philanthropic generosity of Thomas and Sarajean Scott will have a lasting beneficial impact on Clarkson’s cost structure and its recruiting platform. The T12 Lighting Project Upgrade represents a major example of the University’s ongoing, comprehensive effort to address sustainability. In addition, the new softball field will be instrumental in attracting a new cohort of female student-athletes to the University.
“We are tremendously grateful to the late Tom Scott and his wife, Sarajean,” says Clarkson President Tony Collins. “Their magnificent bequest provided a major boost to our ongoing Evolution to Excellence (E2E) Campaign. 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. Increasing our female undergraduate enrollment is a high priority and this program will definitely help the University achieve that objective.”
Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.