New fixtures help shed light on campus safety

Florida A&M University administration may have found a remedy to reduce criminal activity at night by installing lights in dim walking areas on campus.

Representatives from the Facilities Planning and Construction Department said it hopes to heighten night safety by initiating the 3-Site Lighting project.

Clinton Smith, the professional engineer for the department, said the project will provide brighter lighting on the corner of Martin L. King Jr. Boulevard and Osceola Street and the west side of the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication. The Quadrangle, including the front of the Black Archives, is also set for improvement.

“We want an overall safer environment for our students, especially at night,” Smith said. “With the initiative we plan to prevent mischief on campus.”

Some students said FAMU is finally doing the right thing.

Chala Riddick, 19, a freshman pre-med biology student from Fort Lauderdale, said FAMU made the right choice.

“I’m glad they are putting up lights,” she said. “This is one of the better choices the school has made to insure safety for the students.”

One student said he thinks the crimes on campus could have been prevented if more lights were already installed on campus.

“Students would feel more safe walking on campus and less crimes would have happened if the school concentrated on safety before extracurricular activities,” said Jeff Pierre, 22, from Miami.

The junior psychology student said he is happy the lights are being put up but doesn’t know why the school waited so long to install them.

Sam Houston, the director of facilities planning, said before lights could be installed on the campus several stages of planning had to occur.

“Although the light project began a year ago, it had to go through several committees and steps of planning in order to get the ball rolling,” he said.

Houston said many students and faculty members think the 3-Site Lighting project has been the only improvement on lighting, but he said the first improvement started more than 26 years ago.

“Upgrading the lighting on campus started in 1982,” Houston said. “The people on campus aren’t aware of it. Because of technology we are able to improve them drastically.”

The second lighting enhancement began in 2001 with a lighting study, which is the foundation for the new project. The study initiated light packs on the side of buildings and fixed various lighting problems.

The FAMU Physical Plant, FAMU Police Department, Environment Health and Safety Department and the Student Government Association all contributed to the study to install the campus lighting system.

The new lighting around campus is the third attempt at enhancing lighting conditions. Houston said a fourth enhancement will follow the 3-Site Lighting project.

The increased lighting around campus has an added benefit of helping to improve another security measure.

“Because of new technology, the security camera’s ability to show clear feed of on-campus activity will improve because of the new lighting,” Houston added.

The $400,000 funding of the 3-Site Lighting project came from the state legislature through the Public Education Capitol Outlay funding. P.E.C.O provided funds to the Campus Wide Electrical Upgrade Funding, which FAMU then delegates to the Facilities and Planning Department.