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University increases lighting and police presence on campus

Texas State student strolling through campus at night
After safety concerns due to poor lighting conditions on campus, Texas State has made the decision to invest in a better lighting system for the upcoming year.
Photo by: Lara Dietrich Multimedia Editor

The Texas State administration allocated over $3 million to improve safety conditions on campus. The initiative started this semester and will continue over the next three years.

The safety improvements involve upgrades in campus lighting and landscaping, the Rave Mobile Guardian app and the addition of three full-time police officers.

“We’ve already begun upgrades and replacements of a lot of lights around campus,” said Eric Algoe, vice president for finance and support services. “The project involves a number of people around campus (including) the campus facilities group, student affairs (and) the university police department.”

Algoe said a third of the project’s allocated funding has been spent on locks, lighting and UPD upgrades.

The initiative was a result of concerns from President Denise Trauth and her cabinet for the 2016 academic year. The president and her cabinet met with Student Government and various organizations to survey community members’ perspectives on campus safety.

Algoe met with members of the Texas State administration and faculty senate to present the incoming changes and hear their concerns. The changes included the addition of foot and bike patrols by UPD along with an increase in officers. These patrols would take place within the interior campus. The addition of nighttime security guards is a part of the project and has already been implemented.

During his presentation, Algoe provided details for the project and how facilities will be affected. The university will install 100 new lighting fixtures and replace more than 150. The university’s Campus Lighting Committee surveyed the campus with students and a third-party company of lighting specialists, E3 Entegral. The company tested various areas on campus for opportunities to increase lighting for safety and the perception of safety.

The lighting project is estimated to cost $1 million.

“We were looking for things we could do to improve actual safety and security, but also just people’s feelings and perception of safety and security,” Algoe said.

Nancy Nusbaum, associate vice president for finance and support services planning, said some areas of campus are underlit and others are overlighted, which causes a skewed perception for some as to what amount of lighting is necessary.

Nusbaum works closely with Algoe and Trauth on the campus master plan to improve and grow the Texas State campus every 10 years. Nusbaum has been a part of completing three master plans during her time at the university.

Algoe said he hopes students will begin to feel safe on campus. He believes the addition of more police officers will be the most impactful improvement for students, but is looking forward to enhancing the campus facilities and lighting.

“We’re using a clear, bright-light LED fixture these days. That’s what you’ll see on the Bobcat Trail, the new area of campus,” Algoe said. “As opposed to if you go on the Quad, you’ll see the older style of lighting that we’re gradually replacing.”

The addition of installed lighting will aim to provide a vibrant, inviting atmosphere and sustain campus safety.