Grand Coulee Dam to get new light show
GRAND COULEE – After 25 years, Grand Coulee Dam will get a brand new laser light show next summer.
The show will include a new story about the dam’s impact on people, local communities and the nation’s energy needs, with new laser equipment to tell that story. Officials say the public will notice brighter colors and better sound.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will be selecting representatives from various groups, including American Indian tribes, irrigators, salmon biologists and others, to talk about Grand Coulee Dam and its influence on north-central Washington.
“The script will be revised based on the input from these folks,” said John Redding, spokesman for the Reclamation Bureau.
He said that group has not yet been selected.
The agency has awarded a $1.6 million contract to LumaLaser of Eugene, Ore., to put together the new show, with funding from the Bonneville Power Administration.
The modernized system will use less electricity, saving more than 75 percent of the current laser show’s use, Redding said. All equipment related to the show will be upgraded, including the sound system.
The effort to replace the aging laser light show will begin late this summer, and should be in place for next summer’s visitors.
“The reason we’re replacing it is, it’s got outdated information in it, and some of it is now just inaccurate. It needs to be changed,” said Lynn Brougher, the bureau’s spokeswoman at Grand Coulee Dam.
She said some people have told the agency they don’t want the show changed. “We have a lot of folks that really like the show we have now,” she said. This summer may be the last chance to see the old show, she said.
The agency hopes the new laser light show will be ready when next summer’s showings begin over the Memorial Day Weekend.
The free show can be seen from several locations in the Grand Coulee area, and is shown each night from late May through late September.
Grand Coulee Dam was completed in 1941, and the current laser light show has been shown to thousands of visitors every summer since 1989, a news release from Reclamation said. In that time, it has experienced many technical and maintenance problems.