Lighting Up Campus Walkways
Project Will Enhance Areas Where Lighting is Not Sufficient
July 18, 2013
Take a walk through campus in the evening and some areas may seem less well lit than others. But this summer, efforts are underway to shine a light, literally, on the problem.
"Over the last 18 months, we've been finishing up a lighting retrofit project to make lighting much more energy-efficient. In some areas, this has enhanced and expanded lighting both inside and outside buildings," said Willem van der Pol, director of facilities operations. "But in doing so, we've noticed that there are some external areas that could still be better lit. This project is geared toward finding and eliminating these dark spots."
Over the spring semester, Facilities Operations, University Police and Environmental Health and Safety officials trekked through common walkways and parking lots in the evening to find "dark areas."
Van der Pol explained that dark areas are seen as any area where lighting is available but not bright enough. Some of the areas just needed tree or brush trimming to increase visibility, he explained, but in 13 areas, additional lights or different fixtures are needed to increase the ambient light.
Among the areas involved in the $600,000 project:
- Byrnes Circle, an area south of Goodwin Field
- the area between the track and Anderson Family Field
- along Gymnasium Drive
- the plaza area in front of the Humanities-Social Sciences Building
- the east side of the Pollak Library
- the Quad
- the area between the Engineering and Computer Science buildings
- between the ECS area and Residence Halls
- athletic fields north of Titan Gym
In addition, the project includes upgrading the lights on the 187 blue phones on campus.
"Overall, people feel very safe on campus," said University Police Chief Dennis DeMaio, who recently completed the university's first safety survey. More than 1,300 students and nearly 500 faculty and staff members responded to the questionnaire, which asked about how safe people felt on campus during the day — 99 percent responding positively — and at night. "We did notice that at night, that sense of safety is not as prevalent as it is during the day. So, we're hoping this project enhances not only the lighting but the secure feeling of our community."
Other survey questions asked about the professionalism/courtesy and respect demonstrated by department officers and staff, sensitivity to cultural diversity, satisfaction with interactions with department representatives and overall performance of University Police. Respondents, 40 percent of whom reported having some contact with a representative of the department, also were asked if they believed crime was a problem on campus. More than 75 percent of the answers were "not at all" or "slight."
"I'm very happy with the results of this survey," said DeMaio. "We have a very diverse workforce, and I give credit for that to my predecessor Judi King, for seeing to that. She did a good job. I'm just following up that good work."
By: Pamela McLaren, 657-278-4852