One of the more visible projects on campus over the past few weeks has been installing new lighting.
28 new street lights have been installed, 13 have been replaced with newer models and a few other smaller lights have been placed around campus.
Student government started the idea for this project two years ago when they pointed out some places on campus that were dark and needed more lighting.
When Taylor refinanced its debt in 202, adding additional debt through public bond financing, they decided to put new lighting in the plan. Since then, they have received input to find where more lighting is needed. The idea was also reinforced by a line in the five year plan dedicated to new lighting on campus.
Superintendent of Grounds Kerry Shanebrook said that he had seen some dark areas snowplowing and that he had asked students and other people who walk the loop to find out what areas needed more lighting. Campus police was also consulted, among other groups, to find out where new lights would be beneficial.
“It's a safety issue,” Chief of Police Jeff Wallace said. “Not just safety from crime deterrent kind of safety, but safety from pedestrians walking, from students on bikes, long boards and stuff. A campus like Taylor, sometimes the activities don't start until close to midnight, and especially with the nicer weather, so we just want to make sure that the lighting was appropriate from a safety standpoint. And we don’t want anybody to feel that there’s a place on campus that is inherently unsafe because of lighting; that’s something we can control.”
The field house area was going to get more lighting but Special Assistant to the President Ron Sutherland said that campus decided to hold back on those lights for now. The university is planning on redoing the building soon which should add some lighting to the outside anyway.
Because of a few situations like this there are some extra poles that were not used for this set of lighting. If Taylor sees a need they will install them around campus at any locations that still need lighting.
Wallace spoke about another safety project under consideration for campus — blue light phones. These are safety phones in various locations around campus for students to make emergency calls from, and they have a bright blue light so they can be seen at night.
Wallace said that installing these at Taylor is not very practical, because the concept was developed before most people had a cell phone on them, and you have to stay at the phone to make the call, since the phones are stationary.
To compromise, Wallace said that campus is thinking about putting blue lights by the landlines that are currently available around campus instead of installing the very expensive phones on poles.