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Designers Use Value Engineering for YMCA Site Lighting 

See how designers were able to reduce the size of this project's site lighting bases by half with the aide of the Pole Base design charts.



After years of fundraising, the community of Traverse City, Michigan, finally broke ground on a desperately needed aquatic center and fitness facility in 2013.

The design of the YMCA facility included site lighting for its access road, parking area, and entrance. The original site lighting plan specified very large, 8-foot by 30-inch (2.4-meter by 0.8-meter) poured-in-place light pole bases to support light poles that were only 20 feet (6.1 meters) tall.

Keeping value engineering in mind, project engineers decided to take a look at other options to see if they could save time and resources on the project.


The ideal alternative to the poured-in-place bases specified for this project was Pole Base; a precast concrete foundation for outdoor site lighting. It's easy to install, comes in a variety of textures, and is customizable to meet the needs of any project.

According to the project's electrical engineer, Phil Jaquish of Rhoades Engineering, "Originally, the standard detail for the light pole base foundations would weigh roughly 5,800 pounds (2,631 kilograms). After working with the Design Charts that Pole Base provided, we were able to reduce the size of the bases to a 6.5-foot by 24-inch (2-meter by 0.6-meter) unit which weighs 3,000 pounds (1,361 kilograms)."

This change resulted in major savings for the YMCA. "Reducing the bases to half the original size lowered material and shipping costs. It also allowed for the use of smaller equipment to auger the holes and lift the bases. That resulted in a quicker installation process and less cleanup on site," Jaquish said.

When the new YMCA facility opened on September of 2014, it featured Round Rusticated Pole Bases. Each base was made to match the bolt configuration for the poles and conduit layout the contractor needed for installation.


"The bases installed quickly and easily on this project, and they looked great," explained Ted Lurvey of Topline Electric. "We had a great experience with the product, and we will be using Pole Base again this summer on a streetscape project in downtown Traverse City with 97 bases lining the site."

Overall, Pole Base saved this project time and resources and included the added bonus of a more high-end aesthetic. "The look of Pole Base precast bases is better than standard poured-in-place bases. It looks much nicer with fewer holes and imperfections," said Jaquish.


Project: YMCA Site Lighting Customer: Traverse City YMCA Year Built: 2013 Manufacturer: Pole Base Installer: Topline Electric Electrical Engineer: Rhoades Engineering Location: Traverse City, Michigan Case: 009 - YMCA Traverse City



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