Graham Memorial Auditorium installs new lighting system
Graham Memorial Auditorium is getting a facelift on its lighting system this week as new LED lights are being installed inside the facility, replacing lights that are over 25 years old.
Former Auditorium Manager, Jerry McDowell, said the idea to do a full replacement started when he presented the idea to get rid of the 288 colored bulbs in the auditorium in order to save on electricity costs. He said when the lighting company came out to demonstrate a new lighting system, City Manager Brandon Anderson suggested to change all of the lights.
In March 2019, the Graham City Council approved $25,000 from a $91,000 reserve fund, left by the Kathleen Criswell Gregory Estate for the auditorium, to be used for the project.
“The auditorium board, through donations over the years, had acquired some money as reserve for such an emergency because I had always said the dimmer circuit down there was put in ‘91, so at any time it could just completely collapse on us. I had got some quotes on it and it was going to cost us almost $70,000 just to replace the dimmers and that still left you with all of the old lighting,” he said. “The LED lighting had progressed enough. It took them awhile (…) but they never had one that could produce that much light output and two or three companies were working on it.”
The venue received 56 LED lights which McDowell said, along with the cords, were a $54,000 expense and one that will make a lasting impression.
“We relamped the stage back in 91’, but they were incandescent lamps and the incandesecents are only good for about 1,200 hours of lighting time,” he said. “The LEDs now are 50,000 hours, so that makes a difference.”
The auditorium previously had 340 fixtures onstage producing a total of 133,400 watts of electricity, but with the new set up will move to 56 fixtures onstage producing a total of 6,852 watts of electricity, McDowell said.
“This cuts the cost of operation just way down,” he said. “Plus the fact that these bulbs, on these (previous) lights right here were $20 a piece, so we were constantly replacing the bulbs out of that cabinet there. And now, essentially we don’t have to replace any bulbs.”
For the full story, see the Wednesday, Jan. 8 edition of The Graham Leader.