Brilliantly lit weather towers on Davis center get updated look

Dec 11 2012 - 12:29am

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LAYTON -- Christmas lights, nah.

The bright lights illuminating the Layton sky, day and night, are coming from the Davis Conference Center's refurbished and retooled state-of-the-art weather towers.

"We have the latest technology with the brightest lights," Davis Conference Center Director of Operations Dave Hilliard said. of the center at 1651 N. 700 West in Layton.

The six-lighted rings that once graced the tops of the center's two 85-foot-tall weather towers, have been replaced on each tower with one larger, brighter LED light strip, Hilliard said.

"They are extremely efficient," he said of the new LED lights.

Refurbishing the towers cost just less than $10,000, Hilliard said, with the work having a value of $40,000, based on a significant portion of it being warranty work.

While changing out the lighting on the towers that flank the center's main entrance, crews also retooled the technology, making it so the towers provide a more accurate forecast of the next day's weather.

A solid blue color on the rings indicates clear skies, while blinking blue indicates overcast conditions, Hilliard said.

A solid red color means prepare for rain, a blinking red means prepare for snow and green means prepare for winds.

And when a morphing of all the colors occurs, Hilliard said, it means there is a big event taking place at the conference center.

"The whole purpose of the towers when we built them, is that they would serve as a beacon for the whole area," Hilliard said.

And the towers, in place since the conference center first opened in September 2004, have done just that.

"We get a lot of comments and emails. It's been a positive thing for the community. It's novel," Hilliard said of the tower lights that work similarly to the way the lights on the old Walker Bank buildings in Salt Lake City and in Ogden worked to provide a color pattern for existing weather conditions.

"It took awhile to get the right technology to get it to work correctly on the weather patterns," Hilliard said of the two center towers.

Staff worked with former television weatherman and Davis County resident Mark Eubank to get the weather color patterns correct, he said.

Eubank also helped with the initial naming of the center rooms -- using a theme of weather elements -- such as the Solstice Courtyard and Cirrus Atrium.

The center was originally built by the county for $9.6 million, Davis County Clerk/Auditor Steve Rawlings said. That total does not include the cost of the privately held adjoining Hilton Garden Inn, he said.

The center underwent a $10 million expansion in 2007 and added more exhibit space to the building.

Rawlings said adding the two projects together, along with $4.2 million in total land cost, puts the cost of the center around $23.8 million.

He said this refurbished weather station tower was retooled in 2010, giving the county the new technology for the past 2 1/2 years and well into the future.

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