By JESSICA BAREFOOT
As part of UMW’s ongoing efforts to improve campus security, bids opened this week on an array of improvements that were highlighted during last year’s safety walk.
Specifically, efforts are currently being made to install new lighting and additional emergency phones in various locations around campus.
According to John Wiltenmuth, the associate vice president of facilities services, the project will install 33 new lighting fixtures and three new emergency telephones around campus.
Areas on campus to be impacted are Sunken Road, College Avenue and connecting streets.
According to Executive Vice President Rick Hurley, students should expect to see work on this project “begin in 30 to 45 days and take about four months to complete.”
This new security measure, with a budget is set at $250,000, currently holds its lowest bid at $161,000 from Computer Cabling and Telephone Services, Inc. This low bid is only set to cover the construction portion of the project.
“The $250,000 budget will be used for construction costs, design costs and various ancillary costs including charges from utility companies, landscape repairs, etc.,” Wiltenmuth said.
Due to many of these new improvements being installed in locations a distance away from buildings on campus, much of the cost for this project will come from the cabling needed to implement telephone and power lines.
Although viewed overall as a positive change to campus, some students question the necessity of installing emergency telephones.
“They’re spending money on something unnecessary,” senior David Reichert said.
He feels that with the blue light system already implemented around campus, there is no need for further emergency contact devices.
However, Reichert does approve of the efforts to improve lighting in dimly lit areas.
“I never had a problem specifically, but I know a lot of people did,” Reichert said, who also acknowledged the fear that many students feel when walking on Sunken Road at night.
Hannah von Oeyen, a junior, is also particularly supportive of the Sunken Road lighting efforts. She says that she and her friends have often been hesitant to walk back down Sunken Road from the Battlegrounds parking lot at night.
“We’ve never felt safe, especially when we have to walk by ourselves. The lights being there will help us feel like we’re more on campus instead of some strange neighborhood,” von Oeyen said.
These new attempts to boost security come as a result of much outcry from students, faculty, and staff that the campus is not as safe as it should be. Through outlets such as the Student Government Forum held at the start of the semester, students were given opportunities to express their concerns about security issues that they felt needed to be addressed on campus and to direct their ideas to student leaders.
These efforts have brought forth new actions to promote improved safety measures, including the latest safety walk and increases in security guards and unmarked police cars around campus, as well as the most recent implementation of new lighting and emergency telephones.