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Stadium of Light

When Mount St Mary's College chose Thorn floodlights for their Grade 1 Athletics Stadium, they made a choice that helped them gain selection as an official London 2012 Pre-Games Training Camp Facility. The centre, based at Spinkhill near Sheffield, with its impressive 6-lane athletics track and separate field events area, has a number of uses, from a daily school programme for 11-18 year olds to the hosting of national teams and training camps.

The facility is not used just for athletics, however. Numerous rugby events are held within the grounds.

Two major problems needed to be overcome in lighting probably the most up-to-date educational sporting facility in the UK – flexibility to meet the different needs of the sports and competition levels being played as well as achieving strict light control – especially as the track is set in beautiful countryside.

The scheme comprises 36 Champion floodlights each with a 2kW metal halide lamp. Electrical contractors, R.J. Thompson International Ltd of Worksop, were responsible for the complete installation, which was designed by Thorn engineer, Noel Whiffin. The contractor undertook the project on a turnkey basis, i.e. foundations, lighting control and all electrical components fitted.

Floodlights were mounted on eight Stainton hinged raise and lower columns, at a height of 20m. The design included two switching levels, based on average horizontal illuminance: 200 lux for track and rugby competition and 100 lux for track training and recreational participation. The final aiming pattern for the high intensity floodlights used Osram HQI-TS WNL long arc lamps for excellent light distribution over a wide area. The resultant measurements of the scheme indicated levels in excess of 250 lux for the full switch with very good uniformity.

Since completion, Mount St Mary's College has attracted events of all kinds. The venue was recently chosen for the British University Championships for Lacrosse and Rugby League.

Paul Scott, Director of Sport at the College, stated: “The provision of a floodlit track and rugby pitch has allowed both the school and community to benefit from the extra time now available for training and matches. The new athletics club, 2DASH and a number of rugby finals have be able to capitalize on this outstanding floodlit venue. Thanks to this development Mount St Mary’s College is now a venue for elite sporting events.”


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