July 13, 2024

Dark campus awaits new outdoor lighting

This archived article was written by: Emily Manley

A project to replace and improve outdoor lighting on the USU Eastern campus has been approved, but completion of the project depends upon approval for the Central Instructional Building. For a few years, outdoor lighting on campus has been gradually decreasing. Non-functioning light poles are leaving some parts of the campus with virtually no visibility at night.
USU Eastern facilities manager Sheila Burghardt requested monies from the Capital Improvement Fund of the State Building Board to replace the broken lights on campus in the 2011-2012 school year. The request was approved in the 2012-2013 school year and $280,000 has been allocated for the sole purpose of replacing outdoor lights on campus. The new lights will be LED, thereby saving energy and reducing light pollution by directing the light directly down with minimal refraction of light into the night sky.
As USU Eastern plans for the new CIB, there are many aspects that must be considered to make the project meet new required building standards and outdoor lighting is one of them. An industry based point system has been agreed upon by several of the University Presidents (including USU). This point system, called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), is a points system that indicates how environmentally friendly a building project is. In order to build the CIB building, it must score a certain number of LEED points.
One facet of the LEED scoring system awards points for reducing light pollution. TheeCIB Building Design team saw an opportunity to increase the LEED points necessary for the building of the CIB by joining the lighting renovation project with the construction of the CIB. By adding the points gained from the light pollution reduction of the new lights, the project as a whole is one step closer to execution.
Because the lights will be installed around the new building, relocating poles may be necessary based on light coverage patterns and other construction details. The cost of relocating light poles is significantly higher than replacing the lighting element in existing poles. The sum $280,000 will replace a significant number of lights, but most likely will not be enough to install new lights throughout the entire campus. New lights will be installed with the primary focus of lighting the CIB. The rest of the funds will be used to install lights in other locations with the greatest need for lighting.
One advantage of the lighting project taking place in conjunction with the new building is that the architecture firm Method Studio_ who is hired to work on the CIB will also work on the lighting project. This eliminates the need for the facilities department to hire an architect, allowing more of the monies received to be used for lighting equipment.
Although the timing of the installation of new lights on campus hinges on legislative funding for the CIB, it is guaranteed that USU Eastern will be installing lights in the future. The facilities department recognizes that a well-lit campus provides students with a sense of security and increases safety at night. In order to provide a brighter campus, the facilities department will maintain the current lights as best as possible. A break in the power lines has been repaired which re-illuminated several of the broken lights and other measures will be put into effect to ensure a safe environment until new lighting is installed.