The art teachers at Opelika High School were looking for a unique way to demonstrate the effects of light and color for their students. What they ended up with was a state-of-the-art, color-changing LED lighting system powered by Crestron technology. The project was part of a larger $39 million renovation that added over 227,000 square feet of classroom space, a new cafeteria, field house and entrance. Construction was completed in three phases that took about 18 months.
The new classroom spaces feature wall-mounted keypads. Office and storage areas have occupancy sensors. All lighting is centrally controlled through a Crestron system and the lights turn on and off according to the school schedule and special events, but the highlight of the renovation is the art rooms. In addition to the standard fluorescent lights found in most classrooms, Opelika chose to install color-changing architectural fixtures. The school’s goal behind this unique choice was to get more students interested in the arts. The system allows instructors to not only control the changing of the colors, but also the light levels in the room.
Each art room has six Black Tank MIRO Cubes 4c fixtures mounted on standard tracks on the ceilings. Each MIRO fixture includes red, green, blue and white LED lights, which can be combined to create just about any color you can imagine. Each set of lights also comes with a set of lenses that can vary the coverage of the from from a narrow 15-degree spot up to 70- degree flood lighting. Teachers and students control the coverage and the color of each light fixture using a seven-inch Crestron TSW-750 touch screen. A dimming panel also controls the intensity of the light.
Understanding the Effects of Light
Lighting can affect the way you view the shape and appearance of an object. This is a difficult concept to teach by reading a textbook, but using Opelika’s lighting control system, students can see the effects firsthand. They can observe the subtle changes of light, color and shadow on an object as they manipulate the lighting control system. For example, one way this system can be used is to cast different color lights on a sculpture to see how that affects what students see or perceive. Setting some lights to red and others to blue would create a purple lighting scheme for students to work with and observe.
The lighting within the rest of the school is not nearly as dramatic as the art rooms, but the rest of the building does benefit from having a centralized lighting system. If the school decides to make changes to its schedule or use of the lighting system, the installed equipment is flexible enough to allow school leaders to make those types of decisions. As school staff and administrators get used to their new system they will undoubtedly discover new benefits and uses over time.
For now, students and faculty are excited about their new facilities. According to a statement by Opelika High School Principal, Dr. Seymour Farrell, the school has experienced a renewed sense of school spirit.
“We have already seen a great boost in school pride,” he said.”It’s a great day for Opelika High School.”