External lighting project nears completionBy Laurie Davis
The first phase of an ongoing initiative to upgrade campus exterior lighting is nearing completion, according to Richard Bumstead, University Planner.
The addition of architectural lighting on the Quadrangles has been under way since last winter, when the installation of wall-washer lighting began. Work on several buildings, including the north façade of Bond Chapel, Harper Memorial Library, the Administration Building’s east façade and Jones and Erman halls, is completed.
Architectural lighting also will be installed on Culver, Eckhart, Haskell, Kent, Rosenwald, Ryerson, Stuart, Swift and Walker halls as part of the lighting project’s Phase I. This phase will be completed in January 2008, when a new contract bid will go out for Phase II of the lighting design and installation work. The project’s Phase II work will be implemented on the 59th Street façade, as well as in spaces south of the Midway Plaisance and east near the Laboratory Schools, said Bumstead.
Bumstead noted that new pole fixtures have been added to areas outside of the Quadrangles, such as the fixtures installed near Court Theatre and the Parking Structure on Ellis Avenue. These fixtures provide beams of light that are directed downward, rather than in every other direction, including into the atmosphere where it is lost, he said.
“What this does is it brings the light down to the pedestrian level,” said Bumstead, “and gives you a general sense that it’s brighter, and therefore, safer.”
President Zimmer initiated an evaluation of campus lighting last year, and Charter Sills & Associates was contracted to conduct the study and make recommendations for upgrades.
Other campus areas that will receive upgraded lighting include walkways near the Oriental Institute, Rockefeller Memorial Chapel and on Ellis Avenue.
Bumstead noted that the University considered sustainability and investigated solar capability for lighting, but found that both the size of available solar panels and battery limitations eliminated that option. “The battery has a limited capacity that we couldn’t guarantee that the lighting would be operable from dusk until dawn. The technology just isn’t there yet.”
He also said that the University is working with the city of Chicago to ensure that lights throughout Hyde Park and in surrounding areas off campus are being maintained.