Snake River High School Logo

Idaho High School Dazzles with Keystone Technology


At the end of the 2020-21 school year, having recently upgraded its classroom lighting, Snake River High School in Blackfoot, Idaho, decided to upgrade the gymnasium.

The plan: new flooring, new bleachers, a new sound system, and new lighting. The timing: immediately.

Thad Scott, a district maintenance supervisor for the Snake River School District, had about a week and a half to line up lights and controls – a particular challenge in these times of product shortages and stretched supply lines.

“I called Justin at Electrical Wholesale Supply (EWS), and told him my problem,” Scott recalls. “He immediately recommended Keystone, put together a package, and got it to us within a day.”

Products Used:


Snake River Keystone SmartLoop and LED Products Used

The Solution from Keystone:

It wasn’t the first time Snake River had worked with Keystone.

When the high school of about 580 students needed to replace old-fashioned fluorescent troffers in its classrooms – lighting so poor students got headaches, teachers reported — the school opted for Keystone LED 2-by-2 and 2-by-4 flat panels. The Keystone troffers created a well-lit and welcoming pedagogical atmosphere.

In addition, Snake River used Keystone wall packs for its outdoor lighting, replacing aging mercury vapor lamps and brightening up the exterior.

So when EWS recommended Keystone, “I knew I was in good hands,” says Scott.

Keystone delivered a comprehensive solution for the gym.

In addition to LED fixtures, Scott added SmartLoop, a full solution of wireless load controllers, high bay sensors, and a simple wireless keypad with an intuitive app. It’s designed for simplicity while powerful enough to create multiple scenes needed for their space.

The sensors provided automatic occupancy sensing, and SmartLoop wireless controls allowed Scott to customize the lighting with event scheduling and preset scenes for Panther sports and public assemblies. The automation was a huge step up from the old-fashioned on-off toggle switches the school was using, he says. Combined with the LED illumination, it created a more dynamic space along with saving energy and money.

High School Gym Lighting Scenes with Keystone's SmartLoop System

The lighting in Snake River’s gym is customized for school events. In the center photo, a scene of black lights shows off “invisible” panther tracks.

High School Classroom with Keystone LED Flat Panel Fixtures

Snake River classrooms now feature LED flat panels (right), which have provided more consistent and suitable light for the classroom environment than the patchy and harsh old fluorescents (left).

Scott says installation of the new fixtures (“one-tenth the weight of the old ones,” he observes) and programming SmartLoop was easy. His first-year apprentice was able to wire and install the entire gymnasium “in just a few hours,” he says. And SmartLoop programming was done by the end of the day.

“Once we installed the new fixtures, we just stood in the gym for 20 minutes to get them up and running with SmartLoop,” he says. “Then we spent an hour to dial in lights individually to create scenes.”

SmartLoop’s ability to customize lighting brought a new spirit to the gym. Individual coaches and administrators were excited to sit down with Scott and create lighting scenes that heightened drama – shutting off bleacher lights and spotlighting the ring for wrestling, darkening the entire building for school-wide video presentations, and brightening a stage for graduation. With SmartLoop, it’s not just a gym. It’s an event space.


Results from Snake River Working with Keystone Technologies: Powerful Economic Benefits, Reduced Maintenance Expenses with SmartLoop, and the Wow Factor

All told, the lighting project came in on time and under budget.

“Keystone got it to us in time to demo the old system and put up the new system within a week,” Scott says, noting that the lighting project beat all the other upgrades to the finish.

Reviews have been stellar. “The gym is brighter now than in the 30 years since I’ve been here,” says Director of Activities Bob Coombs. “And it’s very easy to operate. I think it’s great.”

The black lights that show off “invisible” panther tracks on the basketball court have been a standout addition, says Coombs.

The lighting has had a workout in its first year, but thanks to the new controls, events have gone off without a hitch.

“The gym used to look like a dungeon. Now it appears brand new,” Scott says. “It’s everything we could have asked for.”