Image of two rugby teams in a scrum on a UC Davis playing field.

Russell Field Lighting Update

Lighting the way

TIMING UPDATE:  This project, originally scheduled to begin in July, is now starting in June thanks to an early delivery from the lighting equipment manufacturer.

Campus Recreation offers UC Davis students and employees the chance to engage in over 30 diverse sports activities, ranging from basketball, softball, and soccer to ultimate frisbee, tube polo, and dodgeball. By upgrading the lighting at Russell Field, we aim to better support the university's multitude of sports clubs and recreational athletes. This enhancement will provide well-lit spaces for evening use, ensuring the continued well-being benefits that students derive from these programs.

Why is this project important?

Increasing participation in sport and recreation programs has been shown to have a positive impact on the health and wellness of our students. In the 2023 Student Satisfaction Survey, 90% of students stated that Campus Recreation involvement helps with stress reduction and 84% of students said that Campus Recreation provides a sense of belonging on campus.

Football field with lighting and minimal spillage to the houses in proximity
This field at Healdsburg High School has the same light levels proposed for Russell Field. The photo shows successful light spillage cutoff.

Currently, the availability of well-lit field space for sports club and recreational programs is limited, partly due to sharing with Intercollegiate Athletics and partly due to poor field conditions. Expanding field space through the Russell Field lighting upgrade will support the growth of Campus Recreation club teams and benefit more individuals. Following the update, Russell Field can be used until 10 p.m. daily. This enhancement not only facilitates growth but also enables clubs to maintain regular schedules and host home tournaments that contribute revenue to the City of Davis.

Minimizing impact

Russell Field is located on the north edge of campus, along Russell Boulevard. The project is being designed to minimize the impact of the new lighting. The type, quantity, placement, angle and strength of the lighting is planned to best serve Campus Recreation athletes, while minimizing light impacts on the surrounding community.

Lighting study

A lighting study performed by electrical consultant M. Neils Engineering found that the Russell Field lighting update will result in negligible excess light for residents on Russell Boulevard.

Key findings:

  • On Russell Boulevard, no horizontal and negligible vertical light trespass shall reach the residential homes’ property lines.
  • California Avenue will not experience horizontal or vertical light trespass.
  • Lighting meets City of Davis requirements that the lighting shall not have a significant negative impact to the surrounding residential neighborhood.
  • The lighting update meets requirements to receive a DarkSky certification, “reserved for outdoor lighting that has been proven to significantly reduce light pollution relative to non-certified facilities of similar functionality.”