The Bill Fox Gymnasium will look a little different come the start of the 2022-23 school year, and all because of an alumnus’s willingness to give back to De La Salle and improve its facilities for both present and future students.
Earlier this summer, Tom Landa, ‘87, who serves as the vice president of estimating for Slifco Electric, took the initiative to improve the lighting system inside the gym.
Originally, the gymnasium consisted of 17 circuits, divided between the electrical panels on the east and west sides of the gym.
Additionally, the old fixtures were approximately 18 years old and inefficient per today’s standards, drawing approximately 80-90 amps total. The fixtures were also sporadically spaced, with no discernable pattern. The setup was not ideal, according to Landa.
So, Landa, who deployed the help of Craig Colo, ‘87, Paul Brillati, ‘90, and the lighting manufacturer Clarus Lighting & Controls, set out to provide the historic gym with a more modern-day and efficient lighting system.
Here’s a brief overview of what Landa & Co. were able to accomplish:
- Thirty-one LED fixtures are now installed in the gym, down from 44 previous fixtures. Thirteen fixtures have been eliminated, but the foot-candles are approximately 35 percent greater.
- There are now eight total light circuits (down from the aforementioned 17), which are located completely on the east side of the gym. Landa and his team could have used just three circuits to feed the new lights, but utilized additional existing circuits for backup and safety precautions (i.e. If circuit No. 3 goes out or is turned off accidentally, there are still seven circuits on, which are capable of lighting up approximately 95 percent of the gym).
- The latest state-of-the-art LED fixtures have been installed. These fixtures are utilized in all of the automotive and industrial plants, where safety is paramount. Additionally, these fixtures exceed their safety requirements. There is an anticipated 50,000-hour life span on the LEDs, and there is a five-year warranty on the fixtures.
- The new LED fixtures are drawing approximately 35 amps total. In stark contrast, the previous fixtures drew approximately 90 amps.
- The new and improved layout of the lighting in the gym is symmetrical across all of the new LED fixtures, providing equal foot-candles across the entire gym. This subsequently has minimized the previous fixtures’ high and low lighting spots.
- A new Touche’ Lighting Control system has been installed. It features full-dimming capabilities, scene/zone control and astro clock control. If the lights are not turned off, the astro clock control will turn everything off at a preset time. Also, the astro clock, at a preset time, will turn on zone eight (the center light fixture) at 50 percent, as a night light. It eliminates the possibility of having to walk into a dark gym.
- The gym lighting now can be controlled via an app, meaning there is no more need to go into the electrical panel to turn the lighting on and off. This is much safer for all parties.
- Landa and his team are currently working with DTE to determine which types of rebates may be available to De La Salle, due to the energy savings that have resulted from the new LED fixtures.
Landa, a youth basketball coach who has seen his fair share of gyms over the years, knew the lighting inside the Bill Fox Gym wasn’t up to snuff. So, upon finding out that he would be given the opportunity to upgrade the facility’s lighting, he was elated.
“I didn’t do this for anything in return,” Landa expressed. “I wanted to do this, because I used to see alumni come back and give back when I was a student. So, I wanted to do the same thing that they did. It’s all about giving back to the boys and giving them a better experience than I had, while also setting an example for them to follow.”
Per Landa, De La Salle is now the only high school in the state of Michigan with its present lighting system.
To Pilots Athletic Director Dan Rohn, the new lighting setup is a big step in the right direction for athletics and all extracurricular activities at De La Salle.
“We appreciate Tom’s time and commitment to De La Salle, and it’s alumni like Tom that help make our school so special,” Rohn said. “Our current and future Pilots students will be able to take advantage of the improved lighting in the gym for years to come.”
De La Salle’s vibrant alumni have made numerous sacrifices over the years to help keep the school alive and well, and this lighting project, executed by Landa, is another fine example of it.
In this manner, Landa undoubtedly embodies what it means to be Lasallian.