Lighting leaves safe passages in the dark

Lindsey Reed

Administrators and students got to be detectives for a night as they searched the Hill for potential danger spots.

The annual Campus Safety Walk was held last night with representatives from groups such as Facilities Management and Student Government Association looking for areas with poor lighting and other safety concerns.

Eleven people participated in the walk, which lasted about two hours.

Lighting problems were identified in the area behind the Kentucky Building, the Valley, the Colonnade and paths leading from the Egypt lot and Normal lot.

Doug Ault, director of Facilities Management, said one of the issues when considering lighting around the dorms was balancing outside security with aesthetics and residents’ privacy.

Gene Tice, vice president of Student Affairs and campus services, said the walk is usually held every fall while leaves are still on trees in attempt to get a better idea of how safe the campus is at night.

Shrubbery in the Valley posed a problem because it could be used for hiding, he said.

“We need to look at the whole landscaping of the area,” Tice said.

The area near the SKyPAC lot also raised concern because of the lack of a crosswalk at the intersection of 14th and Center streets, which is commonly crossed by students coming from the SKyPAC lot toward Van Meter Hall.

Tice said the area was like “no man’s land.”

A second crosswalk that could be added is at the the intersection behind the Kentucky Museum.

Ault said putting in new lights can be one of the biggest problems on campus to correct.

“It’s time consuming and the most expensive unless there is a power source close by,” he said.

Ault said Facilities Management staff perform more routine checks on burnt out lights than before, and campus police also do a monthly lighting check.

Campus police Chief Robert Deane said problems in dark areas have surprisingly not had more crime than other areas.

Tice said he planned to go to the budget council and ask them to set aside funds specifically for lighting projects.

SGA President John Bradley said it was his third year for participating in the safety walk.

“We always find something to improve, and then go back the next year and find more,” he said.

Reach Lindsey Reed at [email protected]