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New LED Lights: Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

By Savannah Cooper
On December 5, 2018

There ceremony ushered in a new period of increased safety on campus.
Photo Courtesy of WVNS

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at University Point to celebrate the completion of the University’s LED Energy Lighting Project.

Alicia Besenyei, Vice President of Advancement, welcomed guests with her opening remarks. She provided background to the project by explaining how it started. Besenyei explained that Chris Nelson, Helios Energy CEO and retired United States marine, visited Concord and saw that the American flags on campus were not properly lit. He then made it his mission to replace lights all around campus.

She also went on to discuss details about Helios Energy by stating, “Helios Energy works with its clients, like Concord, to look at energy consumption and develop solutions that provide results. They truly live up to their motto, ‘We take the complex and make it simple.’”

Nelson took the podium next and described the hard work that went into the project. He also made sure to emphasize the completion of the project was due to a “team effort.” The team he described included all of his workers and associates, the administration at Concord, faculty members and students. By having patience with and accommodating each other, Nelson believed the project was able to be a success.

The LED lighting instillations project was a huge task, one that took over 18 months. From getting approval from the state, to physically replacing the lights, many people played a role in the lighting improvements.

Nelson believes the same people who helped with the project will be positively impacted by the lighting change. The most common comment given by the staff at Concord about the project dealt with how the new LED lights improved their working space. The old lights that flickered all day created eye straining and headaches. Nelson said, “I have had many staff members come up to me and say, ‘You know, today is the first day in years that I didn’t get headaches by the end of the day.’ This is a direct result of the new LED technology that doesn’t flicker.”

Another comment he added dealt with responses from janitorial staff. Nelson explained, “It all truly brings the facilities to life. The biggest complaint I have heard on campus initially was from the janitorial staff. As they walked the hallways, they were finding areas that needed to be painted or cleaned on the walls.”

One of the biggest improvements from the new lights is increased safety. Nelson described the new lighting as “bright and crisp,” which allows for more safety on campus. He went on to explain that a critical issue the project addressed was lighting dark areas that could have proven unsafe. He said, “Improving safety and security in the parking lots, walkways, the stairs and the other critical gathering spaces across campus was top of the line.”

Rick Dillon, the Vice President of Administration at Concord, sent an email before the ceremony commenting on the light project and improved safety. He stated, “The University committed to significantly upgrading the lighting all over campus. Ultimately over 30,000 light bulbs were switched out with LED equivalent, and over 12,000 light fixtures were replaced with a new product better suited to LED light introduction and maintenance.”

Dillon explained the benefits of the new lighting by saying, “Every Concord University community member and any guest who comes to campus will benefit from improved lighting. The institution will also have significantly reduced lighting costs moving forward.”

To conclude the ceremony, Concord President Dr. Kendra Boggess spoke to give her thanks and gratitude to Nelson and his team. While describing her role in the project, Dr. Boggess explained, “We did meet several times with Mr. Nelson and his staff as he shared his ideas and his proposal. He tried to explain the way the project would assist the University going forward. I will tell you that if you have a question about lighting, he knows the answer.”

After the ceremony, Nelson took attendants on a guided tour to explore the newly lit areas on campus and explain more about the energy efficient aspect of the LED lights. Going forward, Nelson states that Concord will be saving a large amount of energy by switching to the new lights. This will not only cut costs for the University, but it will also reduce harm done to the environment.

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