November 9, 1998

Nursing School lighting revamp brightens South Campus paths

Dean 'satisfied' with response on security concerns

by Josh Renaud
of The Current staff

A lamp on a walkway near Seton Hall. Exterior lighting has been installed or repaired in the area because of security concerns on the part of nursing faculty
photo by Stephanie Platt

All is well at the School of Nursing, according to Dean Jerry Durham. Properties Management personnel have done a satisfactory job of responding to the school's need for improved lighting and security around the building.

In previous years, the School of Nursing only occupied part of the building, but the University purchased the entire property during the summer. On Aug. 1, the Daughters of Charity began moving out, and the School of Nursing began to move in and fill the rest of the space, Durham said.

Prior to the purchase of the building, some faculty members voiced concerns about security and inadequate lighting, Durham said.

"As dean, I believe I am responsible for security issues of the faculty and staff and for their comfort," Durham said. "So we have had ongoing dialogues and we are making headway in the issues I have raised over the last several months. I am satisfied with the progress that is being made."

Before the University purchased the building, there were problems with many of the exterior lights. The lights near the rear of the building, over the patio, and down a ramp on the side of the building either didn't work or were out of place, according to Durham.

"You'd go out at night and it was very dark," he said. "Some of the faculty used flashlights. One of the difficulties was that, as renters, we didn't control the lighting situation. But once the University acquired the property and became aware of the problems, they moved forward to address the problems very rapidly."

Properties Management worked hard to repair all the outside lights and ensure they were in good condition, Durham said. They also added powerful new lights to the front of the building, which greatly increased the intensity of the lighting there.

"Nurses tend to be very safety-conscious, and they are very aware of their environment," Durham said. "I don't want to take security for granted. I'll never do that."

On Oct. 22, Durham met with Bob Roeseler, Director of Institutional Safety, Associate Dean of Nursing Connie Koch, and Ron Schrum of Properties Management. In a letter to Vice-Chancellor for Administrative Services Reinhard Schuster, Roeseler explained that Durham stated at the meeting that as far as he knew everything was fine.

"I did not express any concerns to [Roeseler] when I met with him," Durham said, "because when I am here at night, I see the police make the rounds on this property quite frequently. I think that there is a significant presence of the police on this campus at night."

Koch added that police officers on bike patrol will periodically ride around the balcony of the building.

"If nothing else," she said, "it makes people aware that there is a physical police presence."

Members of the Nursing faculty and staff are generally diligent about locking up their areas in the evening, Durham said. It's all part of common-sense security precautions, such as a burglar alarm the Daughters of Charity equipped the building with.

"The exterior doors of the building are fully locked in the evenings by 5 p.m.," Koch explained.

"You can only access the building by using a key, until 7 a.m. the next morning when the first staff members begin to arrive."

Recently, a faculty member did express concerns about the lighting inside Seton Center, Durham said, but that issue was quickly resolved.

"She would come out of her class at night and it would be dark. That was because she didn't know where the switches were; they were in an odd place. Once we were able to identify that and get it in order, her concerns were diminished and taken care of," he said.

While Durham said he felt satisfied with the current lighting and security situation, he mentioned that Schrum was assembling a new plan to further improve lighting for the School of Nursing. Durham also said that he had asked Properties Management to remove some shrubs for security reasons.

"In my view, the lighting is now adequate," Durham said. "It's greatly improved over what it had been. I believe this area is pretty safe, but we want to be sure that every possible precaution is taken to ensure the safety of our students, staff, and faculty."

This article was reprinted with permission from The Current.

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