CannonDesign chose Flex Lighting Solutions’ LED High Bays for the Maryland Heights facility because Flex offered benefits not found with metal halide or fluorescent fixtures, which are traditionally used in gymnasiums.”

Sara Schonour, Associate VP at CannonDesign

Maryland Heights Community Center

Maryland Heights, MO
Recreation and Community Center

Lighting Installed

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The City of Maryland Heights in Missouri is building a new energy efficient community center to better meet the needs of its citizens. Lighting plays a key role in meeting LEED certification for energy conservation.

Rather than paying $5 million to fix issues with a 40-year-old converted church the City of Maryland Heights in Missouri was using as a community center, the city decided to build a new one, one that could better serve its citizens.

Scheduled to open in May, the 96,000 squarefoot, three-story recreation facility sports a 12,800 square-foot gym, plenty of activity space, an indoor track as well as an indoor leisure pool featuring lap lanes, a zip-line, current channel, drop-slide, climbing walls and kid area.

The $30 million facility will be the first community center for Maryland Heights, a suburb southwest of St. Louis. “This is the only recreational facility the City will run full time,” says Bryan Pearl, director of public works. “We did co-fund a gym at an elementary school, which allowed us to do programming after-hours and on weekends, but we were limited by the school schedule.”

The converted church didn’t have a gym, was highly inefficient, and, built in the 1970’s, was reaching the end of its life, he said. It didn’t serve the city’s 27,000 residents very well.


The new community center was designed by CannonDesign to meet LEED silver standards, he said. “Energy efficiency is an important aspect of the design, particularly lighting, and heating and cooling.”

The facility features LED lighting and a robust automatic control system, which will help the city conserve energy and keep associated energy costs low. “It was also very important to have good lighting, particularly in the gym,” Pearl said. “We didn’t want anything that would cast a shadow and we wanted people to see in a natural lighting environment without complaining that it was too bright.”

CannonDesign chose Flex Lighting Solution’s LED High Bays for the Maryland Heights facility because Flex offered a better overall package than metal halide or fluorescent fixtures, which are traditionally used in gymnasiums, said Sara Schonour, associate vice president at CannonDesign.

In addition to being more energy efficient and longer lasting, so much easier to maintain, Flex LED High Bays offered good glare control, high efficacies, and out-of the box ability to dim, without adding extra cost “We designed an array of 32 fixtures for the gym — at just over 200 watts each — which, according to our energy calculations equates to about half a watt a square foot, which is really efficient for a gym,” Schonour said. “There’s going to be some solid savings when compared to the traditional fluorescent or metal halide baseline, which is closer to one watt a square foot. This facility’s LED-lit gym will save about half the energy of a traditional system.”

Pairing the inherently dimmable LEDs with dimming control devices allows the users of the space to dim lights to different levels for different activities or based on available daylight, and every time the lights are dimmed the city will be saving energy, she said. In addition, the gym lighting and much of the other facility lighting is on a time schedule, so the city will “be able to control times and usages so part timers using the facility at night won’t leave the lights on,” Pearl said.


In emergency situations, LEDs provide instant light where metal halide and fluorescents take a few minutes to get up to full light. “If Maryland Heights loses power and the generator needs to kick in, there are safety standards regarding how quickly emergency fixtures illuminate that other metal halide technologies can’t meet without additional equipment,” Schonour said. “LEDs, provide the functionality we need to keep the occupants safe in a more cost-effective way, making them the logical choice.