New lights to flare at North Mesa Ball Fields

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Improved lighting will be safer, more economic and could draw sporting events

By Kirsten Laskey

The Los Alamos County Council approved the design and construction of new lights at the North Mesa Ball Fields.

A total of 74 poles which are between 60- and 70- feet tall each, will be erected. The cost of the project is $762,582.

A bid package is expected to be complete by mid-September.

The Department of Public Utilities’ electric pole study, done in 2006, ignited the process to get new lights in three of the fields – Lou Caveglia Field, Bun Ryan Field and Senior Field.

Parks Division Manager Dick McIntyre said the study showed poles in the fields in North Mesa had core rot, some so extensive that bolsters needed to be installed.

McIntyre said the poles’ life span was about 35-40 years and they were installed in the 1960s so they are living on “borrowed time.”

“These things are relics; they really need to be updated,” he said.

Safety was a main focus, he said. As a result, the new poles will be made of steel, have new fixtures and bulbs.

Stephen Marez, Department of Public Utilities associate engineer for electric distribution, said the new electrical system will be underground, the light poles will be free-standing and there won’t be overhead lines.

Marez said a benefit to having the system underground is that “our system is susceptible to weather, the ball fields are susceptible to weather (so) the underground lines are more reliable when it comes to being more resilient...”

McIntrye said the lights will offer less light pollution, less glare and are expected to be more economic.

“It will be better playing conditions,” he said.

Two years ago, the ball fields hosted a Little League state championship and McIntrye said he hopes the new lighting will draw the championships back to the fields.

“It will be a benefit to the players. It makes playing safer,” he said.