January 02, 2008

New hours, lighting planned at recreation center

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Extended hours and better, brighter exterior lighting will debut in early 2008 at Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Student Recreation Center.

Due to student desires, the center will extend its hours Sunday through Thursday each week to 11:30 p.m., beginning Jan. 14. Previously a 10 p.m. closing time was in place. The center will be open Sunday 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Friday 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Limited services are available during the 5:30 to 7:30 a.m. slot.

The schedule change is in response to student requests for later night hours, along with changing industry standards and later hours in place at other campus buildings, said Gary Tisdale, coordinator of publicity and marketing for Recreational Sports and Services (RSS) at SIUC.

In conjunction with the extended hours and with the opening of the new Student Health Center and the Wall and Grand Apartments, a major exterior lighting project is happening too.

"We want students to feel comfortable and have adequate lighting whenever they use the facilities," said Corné Prozesky, assistant director of facilities for RSS.

There are actually two components to the enhanced lighting project. Workers are installing additional lights on the exterior walls of the building, brightening entrances, walks and the parking area, Prozesky said. The $50,000 project will better light the way for visitors at the recreation center and also provide improved visibility toward the adjacent Student Health Center and the Wall and Grand Apartments.

"We're tripling the quality of the lighting," Prozesky said.

In addition, a double dose of lighting fixtures is being installed where lights currently are in the main section of the parking lot and all bulbs will be high-pressure sodium vapor, according to Todd D. Sigler, director of the Department of Public Safety. He said his department has been working with Plant and Service Operations to change outdoor lighting throughout the campus to the more effective sodium lighting. The installation of more and brighter lighting at the recreation center in conjunction with the extended hours was an idea quickly approved by the Traffic and Parking Committee. The estimated installation cost for the revised double lighting is about $20,000-$25,000, Sigler said.

He said that while the parking lot lighting is currently below industry standards, when the project is complete, it will exceed standards.

"This will enhance the lighting three-fold," Sigler said. "Any time we have the opportunity to do something that enhances safety for the students and the community, we want to do it. This should be a significant improvement."