New lights make Pahrump baseball diamonds sparkle

The outlook for Pahrump’s P-Town Little League got a little brighter Tuesday night.

Actually, it got a whole lot brighter, as the town unveiled new lighting for Fields 1 and 2 at Ian Deutch Memorial Park.

“This was much needed,” Little League President Lou Banuelos said. “I’ve been here since 1995, and I never thought it would happen.”

“This project has been on the radar for about seven years now,” said Matt Luis, Pahrump’s Building and Grounds supervisor, who said the old lights, which had been up for about 30 years, had become a hazard. “This isn’t a bigger, better project. This is a project that had to happen.”

Little League players took a break from their games as Nye County Commission Chairman John Koenig arrived for a brief ceremony to turn on the lights for the first time.

“It was a hard road,” Koenig said. “They had a lot of problems. They found out the wiring was bad, they found out the switch box back there was bad. Next thing we knew the septic system, the pump down here, that went out. They’re all connected, so it just turned into a megillah.”

“We ran into a lot of curve balls out here, like wiring we didn’t know existed,” Luis said. “These fields were created before there were any building safety specifications.”

Safety became a concern with the old lights, as Luis said one crossarm actually fell down. Moreover, the lighting itself was not sufficient to adequately cover all parts of the fields.

“There were actually dark spots in the corners,” Luis said. “These fields are for soccer and baseball, and in the corners of these fields it was so dark that it made it very difficult for players to see.”

That no longer will be a concern.

“They are built to last,” Koenig said. “They are the best lights you can buy. These lights are good enough for a professional field.”

And priced that way. A Nye County press release pegged the cost at $865,451.67, but Koenig believes the cost was even greater.

“I think they’re $1.4 million,” he said. “People say I’m wrong, but I remember approving $700,000 to install them and $700,000 to buy the lights themselves. So somewhere between $8-900,000 to $1.2, $1.4 million. That’s a significant investment in this town.”

Whatever the final cost, the lights themselves are state of the art, said Andrew James of Industrial Light &Power, the contractor for the project.

“There are 90 fixtures total, and about 135,000 watts of light for the two fields,” said James, who said the project, which involved tearing out existing switch gear, updating the electrical service for the park, removing all of the old existing wooden poles and installing 10 new metal poles, took five weeks, not counting time for the lights to be delivered by the manufacturer, Oskaloosa, Iowa-based Musco Lighting.

“This Musco lighting system is really pretty advanced,” said James, whose company also did the new lights at Petrack Park. “It’s great, and we’ve done several of them. They can actually make adjustments remotely, because this whole system is connected cellularly to Musco. They can call the town of Pahrump and tell them that pole C3, light fixture 2 is out.

“They are constantly monitoring this system and they can make adjustments remotely to compensate for what’s called end-of-life output of a bulb. As a light bulb ages, the brightness of the bulb dissipates, and they can actually increase the voltage and make up for that. The lighting levels will be phenomenal for literally 20 years.”

“We have complete control over these lighting systems,” Luis said. “We can turn them on and off with the computer in the office. We can actually do it on the phone. It tells us the exact hours they’ve been running and who’s playing on those fields, and what’s really nice about this system here is it’s guaranteed for 20 years.

“Nobody will have to worry about a light bulb for 20 years, and the light bulbs are running about $60 apiece. We were averaging putting in 18 to 25 light bulbs a year.”

The newer system is also more efficient, said James, and Banuelos said it will get plenty of use with the number of kids playing baseball in Pahrump.

“We’re up to 370, so quite a bit of kids, and 31 teams, which is unprecedented here in Pahrump,” Banuelos said. “On these fields, you’re going to have four games a week on the 90s (a field with 90 feet between the bases) and about 16 games on the 60s.

“There’s going to be a lot of ball being played here. We do run a fall program, we run a summer program, these fields are used quite a bit.”

Luis added that conduit was run out to each of the fields for future scoreboards, and LED lighting was added to the poles to light parking areas.

But the focus Tuesday was on the light towers, and nobody was complaining about being able to see.

“We go into Vegas and all the newer parks have these nice lights, and we’re hoping these match or surpass that,” Banuelos said.

Contact Sports Editor Tom Rysinski at trysinski@pvtimes.com On Twitter:@pvtimes

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