New campus lighting celebrated at UTM
Posted: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 12:00 pm
“Nearly 32,000 alumni have walked under our old lamps on their way to classes and events,” said Charley Deal, University of Tennessee at Martin assistant vice chancellor for alumni relations. “Tonight (April 17) with the help of all of you, we will write the next chapter of our university’s history … when we officially turn on our new lamps.”
Kicking off that next chapter was an event dubbed “Illumination Celebration.” Taking place April 17 on the UT Martin campus plaza near the Boling University Center, it observed the completion of the $3.2 million campus lighting project. Nearly 42 years after the installation of the campus’s old “lollipop” style lampposts, new energy-efficient lighting was put in place and officially lit for the first time in front of a crowd of hundreds of students, staff and alumni.
“Approximately 665 new light fixtures were installed to replace 345 old fixtures,” Deal told the audience, referring to the new antique-style black posts topped with acorn-shaped light fixtures.
Though the new lamps will nearly double the number of the old lamps, which were scheduled for immediate removal following the ceremony date, they will use roughly the same amount of total energy as each light is 75 percent more energy efficient.
“Part of the reason for doing this has to do with campus safety,” said UT Martin Chancellor Tom Rakes. “It helps enhance a definitive environment for safety … we’re celebrating the past and the future and remaining safe.”
New lighting will cover many previously unlit areas on the periphery of the campus, including the outdoor fitness trail.
Dr. Joe DiPietro, UT president, was also in attendance and thanked the UT Martin campus as its lighting project was to the advancement of UT Martin and the UT System.
“As these lights shine bright, it also reflects the bright future that Martin has as a part of our system,” he said. Rakes and DiPietro, along with UT Martin Student Government Association (SGA) president Alex Wilson, did the honor of “flipping the switch,” using laptops to power on the new lights for the first time.
“This is a project that was brought up by SGA many years ago,” Wilson said, adding that the UT Martin administration had been a tremendous help in bringing the new lighting to fruition.
“It’s to make this campus a safer and more energy efficient campus.”