Legendary Duplex Lighting
Wrigley Field, built in 1914, is the second-oldest ballpark in the majors behind Boston’s Fenway Park (1912). Located on grounds once occupied by a seminary, this legendary ball field became known as Cubs Park in 1920 after the Wrigley family purchased the team. Soon after, it was renamed Wrigley Field in 1926 in honor of William Wrigley Jr., the club’s owner. To this day, Wrigley Field has hosted millions of avid baseball fans and competitors to enjoy one of the most popular professional sports franchises in the country.
Many restoration projects have been completed since 1914, including the addition of more bleachers, restrooms, a new home clubhouse, installing a drainage system and much more. The first lighting upgrade began in 2022, exactly 34 years after the original lights were installed in 1988. This recent renovation involved the assembly of custom-built, luminaire cross arms and mounting racks.
Located in a tight-knit residential neighborhood, the ability to control stadium lighting was pivotal. Along with adapting to the stadium’s impressive rooftop structure, the new mounting aimed for streamlined installation and more uniform light distribution throughout the park. LED drivers were located remotely from the fixtures to offer easy access with simplified service, and patented visoring technology to minimize glare and spill light. Because Wrigley Field is designated as a National Historic Landmark, any new lighting needed to meet the standards of the National Park Service.
The light racks and pole tops were factory built, wired, and aimed to allow for easy final assembly on the ground. Installers used a helicopter to safely hoist the full luminaire assemblies up to the rooftop of the ball field and onto existing outfield poles. This would not be possible without deciding a method of protection for the steel parts, as scratching and scraping could occur without proper planning.
A duplex coating was chosen because of its strong durability, ability to withstand the harsh Chicago weather and its overall look that aligned with the stadium’s iconic and historical aesthetic. To seamlessly blend into its surroundings, white was chosen as the topcoat color applied over the hot-dip galvanized steel members by powder coating. This choice tied into the rest of the stadium seamlessly. Not only did hot-dip galvanized steel prove to be the lighter option for shipping the material compared to concrete poles, but it also simplified installation as part of a more versatile structural system.
When it comes to benefiting future generations, choosing the duplex system provides a superior manner of corrosion protection compared to other methods of protection. Due to the synergistic effect of the two systems, the expected life to first maintenance will be 1.5 to 2.3 times the sum of each system if used on their own. With this long-term assurance, the club can eliminate any trouble with maintenance down the road as well. The lighting renovations will also ensure the best possible visibility for players and fans, broadcast quality and less disruption to the community as they enjoy a ball game under the lights. Additionally, local restaurants and businesses will reap the benefits of these enhancements as it creates an overall economic impact for the Chicago area.
Valmont – West Point Galvanizing and Empire Galvanizing were chosen for their ability to handle massive material, including the rack and other large pieces. Meeting all deadlines set by the customer, Valmont was able to offer superior industry expertise and an extremely durable product that will impact future fans and competitors at Wrigley Stadium many years down the road.