The blue lights are often seen as ever present sentinels providing students with a sense of security, but how often are these lights repaired?
During campus walkthroughs, which are coordinated by Student Senate Campus Affairs Chair Morgan Boutmy, participants look at both the blue emergency lights and regular lighting to ensure students can cross campus safely at night. The last walk, which was performed in October of 2016, found faults or con- cerns with 13 of the emergency units on campus.
Boutmy said that during the walk, which she has run for the past three years, participants carry a form allowing them to record the individual number posted on the blue light, its physical location, whether the light and or call work and whether or not another light is visible from each light’s location.
“Sometimes the call button worksbutwedon’tgetvoicecon- tact from Public Safety. I think we got a complaint this year that one of [emergency lights] wasn’t handicap accessible,” said Boutmy.
Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police Stephen Baker conrmed that the emergency light in the Fine Arts lot is not currently handicap accessible. Senior Information Technologist and Emergency Dispatch Supervisor Paul Ricci said in his response to the walk that the unit is inaccessible due to the lack of a cut in the curb to allow for proper handicap access.
“Some of the issues, like where we know we’re going to be doing major construction, we aren’t going to spend a lot of money to fix those issues,” Baker said. “In the case of Fine arts, that project has just been put on hold because of the Greek amphitheater, and we can’t afford to take that parking lot of ine because of all the other construction going on.”
Despite reasons not to fix the problem, Baker said that the department plans to fix the issue when the repaving of the Fine Arts lot eventually gets underway. The department also plans to address concerns by adding more units over time. Eventually another unit will always be in eye line from another.
Funds to pay for new blue lights, that become required due to the addition of a new project, come from that projects budget. Costs for the repairs to these units come from the Public Safety Department’s budget.
“I have about $30,000 a year to spend to keep them maintained,” Ricci said. “That includes upgrades though, not just maintaining and xing.”
Baker also added that every two weeks the police file a report with Facilities Services detailing any regular lighting around campus that has gone out. “We’re responsible for reporting anything we see of that nature, but they are in charge of fixing it,” Baker said.
Repairs to the blue lights, however, are performed by Ramtel, a locally based company out of Johnston, Ricci said. He also said that as a result of the company being so close by, repairs are often completed within a few days of an issue being reported.