JONESBORO – Improving on-campus safety through enhanced lighting and increased numbers of cameras enters its final phases at Arkansas State University with the completion of the third and fourth phases of a four-year project.
With the start of the fall 2022 semester, new lighting in the parking lots for first-year students in Kays and University halls, and along Marion Berry Parkway was completed and activated. Additional surveillance cameras will also be added in this corner of campus.
By A-State’s next home game, lighting for parking west of Centennial Bank Stadium will be completed and activated.
These are the third and fourth phases of a six-part, multi-year plan to improve safety on the A-State campus funded by the university’s safety and security fee. The combined investment of lighting and security camera improvements is over $2.6 million.
“Modernizing our campus lighting not only improves visibility and safety, the new LED lights will provide utility and maintenance savings as well,” Executive Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration and Chief Operating Officer Len Frey said. “Our campus safety committee has been working on solutions for our residence halls, parking lots and trails for some time. Obviously, supply chain and the recent pandemic slowed progress, but we are moving full speed ahead to complete these projects by the end of this academic year.”
In addition to the lighting along roadways, the university has a study on crosswalks and sidewalks underway to discover ways to enhance safety where pedestrians interact with vehicles.
“The safety of all the people on campus who walk or roll between living areas and classes has always been important at A-State,” Frey said. “Dating all the way back to making the campus core into a pedestrian space, we’ve been working on ways to keep traffic moving, but in a way that is safe for everyone.”
The first phase of the project brought new lighting along Aggie Road on the east side of campus and along University Loop near North Park Quads. It was completed in January 2020 at a cost of $539,669. Phase two included Aggie Road on the west side of campus and parts of the Marion Berry Parkway in March 2021 for $413,821.
The recently finished third phase is the largest to date with $618,142 for the new lighting near Kays and University. The Centennial Stadium section will be one of the smallest sections at $245,159, and brings comprehensive parking lot lighting to that section of campus for the first time.
The next section is bid and designed with construction near the Equine Center set as soon as contracts are approved, with a cost of $339,486.
“Thanks to more programing from our community and the College of Agriculture, our Equine Center is routinely hosting major events every month,” Frey said. “Currently, they operate with no lighting and this will be a major safety upgrade.”
The sixth phase will add new lighting along Dean Street and the Reng Student Union and is budgeted to be $454,159. The design is complete, and bidding is anticipated this fall with installation in May 2023.
“I’m very pleased to see these safety projects moving ahead, especially with what we have seen in the news recently,” Chancellor Todd Shields said. “That A-State has been working on this for the past two years shows the commitment to thinking ahead and not reacting.”