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New lights in the arena save time and money

Official touts ease, efficiency

The audience for Wednesday’s Cirque du Soleil performance will be the first to see a show at the Spokane Arena under new lights.

The Spokane Public Facilities District, which owns the arena, recently finished a million-dollar project to replace all the lighting in the arena bowl.

Kevin Twohig, the facilities district’s CEO, said the previous lights were installed when the building was built in 1994 and took 20 minutes to turn on all the way.

“Now we’ll just push a button and all the lights will be on,” he said.

This will be most helpful during events like Chiefs hockey games, Twohig said, when the lights are often turned off for “theatrical” purposes.

“We have a very high guest service standard,” Twohig said. “It’s important to us to make sure they have a great experience.”

While the lights needed to be replaced anyway, Twohig said the facilities district will also save money with the more energy-efficient system.

According to a news release from the district, the arena’s 216 light fixtures were whittled to 104, reducing energy consumption by 52 percent and operating costs by 72 percent.

While the new lighting system – which includes new catwalks for the new fixtures – isn’t unique in the business, Twohig said it will be something to mention in the city’s future bids to host major events at the arena.

“I think it’s almost an expectation,” he said.

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