Bright, efficient fixtures. improve campus lighting

By Rob Heselbarth

Walking around campus will be an experience people will soon find safer at NIU.

Old, insufficient lighting fixtures on the east side of campus are being replaced with brighter, more efficient fixtures to improve campus lighting.

The lighting is being replaced everywhere east of Normal Road, north of Lincoln Highway and south of Lucinda Avenue.

The July President’s Report to the Board of Regents stated the total budget for the project is $535,760.

Patricia Perkins, assistant to the vice president of Finance and Planning, said the project was initiated as a result of a series of problems with the old lights.

“To begin with, we had a transformer which needed to be replaced,” Perkins said. “In addition, the existing campus lighting was old and the wires were deteriorating.”

Perkins said the old system, which was installed in the 1950s, resembled old Christmas light systems.

“If one of the lighting fixtures went out or there was a problem with one of them, all the lights down the line would go out,” she said.

Richard Schimmoler, superintendent of electrical construction for Architectural and Engineering Services, said the old system created problems.

“When all the lights went out because of one little problem, it made finding that problem very difficult,” Schimmoler said. “Maintenance for the old system was almost impossible.”

Schimmoler also said there were many spots on campus where lighting was sub-standard and had to be improved.

“We are replacing about 75 percent of the east side lighting with brighter, more efficient fixtures,” he said. “With the new system, the lighting level has been tripled.”

Schimmoler said 140 light poles with 250 watt bulbs have been taken out, and 180 light poles with 175 watt bulbs have been put in.

“The decreased wattage in the new bulbs balances out with the increased amount of poles, so the amount of energy needed to operate the new system is about equal to the amount needed for the old system,” he said.

Perkins said the project should be completed by the end of October if all goes well.