Lighting walk aims to build safety


    Construction adds shadows and new dark spaces on campus, creating a need for more lighting, TCU Police said.Twice a semester, members of the police, administration, Physical Plant and Student Government Association walk the campus searching for dark areas that need lighting, said TCU Police Chief Steve McGee.

    This semester, the lighting walk will take place on a new moon during daylight-saving time so it is as dark as possible earlier in the night, McGee said. This will occur on Nov. 20 or 21 according to

    Growing tree branches and new buildings also adds shadows, said Sgt. Kelly Ham of the TCU Police department.

    “It’s a constant effort to keep visibility for the students so they can see at night and there are no hiding places for the bad guys,” Ham said.

    Student Body Vice President Jace Thompson, a junior entrepreneurial management major, said the need for campus lighting walks increases with construction.

    “It’s been crucial the past couple of years because the campus has been expanding,” he said. “So as we expand out and as more buildings go up, we’ll install more safety.”

    The estimated cost to repair a light is $150 or less, which comes out of the Physical Plant budget, said George Bates, manager of electrical maintenance.

    He also said the cost to install a new light pole varies from $3,000 to $5,000 per pole, a cost which occurs because the poles are supposed to be decorative and are made of concrete.

    He said the average cost spent to increase lighting after a walk is about $10,000 to $15,000 but sometimes the committee spends more if everyone agrees that more poles need to be added or fixed.

    Some lights previously added by the walk are those along the jogging trail in Worth Hills, said McGee. He said campus is more well lit than when he came to TCU 11 years ago.

    The lighting also adds to the look and feel of the campus, McGee said.

    “The way we have (the light) gives out an ambience instead of making our campus look like a prison,” he said.

    Pamela Hughes, executive assistant to the vice chancellor of student affairs, said campus is designed to add safety. For example, she said the gates added to the parking lot on Bellaire Drive and Stadium Drive are designed so police officers on patrol can see into the parking lot through the gates.

    In addition to lighting, TCU Police increase its number of officers on patrol, Ham said.

    “As the university is growing, we need more officers to cover the areas in the way we want them covered,” he said.

    TCU Police receive several phone calls a day from students reporting suspicious persons, Ham said. However, he said most of the calls are about people who have a valid reason for being on campus. Those people are usually construction workers staying late to finish a project, an older student or people from the community passing through.

    In the past year, he said only 10 calls were written up as reports of suspicious people but added that he would rather have students call just to be safe.