Howelsen volleyball courts close early for construction on new lights

The Howelsen Park beach volleyball, tennis and pickleball courts are closed until spring 2023, and improvements to the outdoor lighting could be worth the wait.

“While the season has come to an early close due to the project, the venue will provide a totally new experience when play returns next spring, and we truly believe players will see the difference in a new light,” Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Manager Alexis Wolf said in a news release.

Crews from Central Electric are replacing the eight existing floodlights with six energy efficient LED lights from Musco, a worldwide supplier of sports lighting that has illuminated everything from tennis courts to soccer fields.

“This is engineered sports lighting for these types of courts,” said Matt Barnard, a project manager at parks and recreation.

Compared to the old floodlights, the new LEDs are designed to diffuse light equally across the surface of the courts, emanating equal brightness and color temperature while reducing glare and “hot spots,” according to Barnard.

“They’ll be the first of this style of fixture that we’ve introduced in town,” said Barnard. “This will definitely be the latest and greatest that the park system has.”

The new fixtures also feature “night sky” technology, which keeps the lights focused on the play areas without leaking and causing light pollution.

While the old floodlights took about 20 minutes to reach peak brightness, the new LEDs will turn on instantly and can be accessed and controlled through a smart system.

The new lights will also be more energy efficient than the old system, which was very outdated, according to Barnard.

“I don’t think anybody designs systems like we had before,” Barnard said. “Nobody even wants that anymore.”

Barnard said crews will spend the next four to five weeks installing the new lights and trenching the underground electrical components, and for the rest of fall, they’ll be restoring the vicinity, including the grassy areas near the worksite. 

Fencing and closure signs will be in place throughout the project.

Due to the closure of the beach volleyball courts, parks and recreation’s adult sports program is continuing fall volleyball leagues in the grass outfield of Vanatta Field, the baseball field closest to the sand volleyball courts.

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