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Safety update: Upgrades to campus lighting well underway

February 01, 2016

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As part of Lewis & Clark’s ongoing commitment to safety and environmental responsibility, the Facilities team is completing the first phase of a comprehensive upgrade to outdoor lighting on all three campuses. While students were away on winter break, Facilities worked with a safety consultant from IKR Consulting and lighting engineers from McKinstry, taking light readings and assessing national best practices. 

The result: In the first phase of the project, which is nearly complete, Facilities is converting outdoor lights from traditional, incandescent bulbs to LEDs across the undergraduate, law, and graduate school campuses. Work will continue throughout the semester.

In addition to upgrading existing fixtures, Facilities is in the process of installing new lighting in darker areas around campus. This includes LED rope lights along the handrails of the pedestrian bridge, additional pole lights on the cobblestone walk in the Estate Gardens, and wall pack lights on both classroom and residential buildings. A subsequent phase will include more lighting in parking lots.

The more energy-efficient LED lights are an improvement for several reasons:

  1. LEDs provide a more natural and even light closer to daylight for better visual perception.
  2. Lighting is being designed to reduce what lighting engineers refer to as “perceived darkness,” the sensation one experiences when walking out of a brightly-lit area and into a less well-lighted area.  
  3. LEDs can be directed and focused, giving Facilities and Campus Safety teams more and better options for providing light precisely where it is needed.
  4. LEDs are designed to last 15 years or more, requiring less maintenance and reducing the likelihood of burnt out lights.
  5. Lighting is being designed to meet Dark Sky practices, illuminating the ground and not the sky.

To ensure that lighting works most effectively, the team has also been trimming back trees and other landscaping to improve overall sightlines and visibility.

“Along with all the technical criteria we’ve been using, we’ve kept in mind a simple standard: ‘How well can I see the face of a person approaching me?’” said Associate Vice President for Facilities Michel George. “We’re committed to ensuring our community members and campus visitors feel safe.”

President Barry Glassner announced the lighting safety review at December’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion Listening Forum.