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UCA event focuses on campus safety

Posted: November 20, 2011 - 12:02am
Arch Jones, director of University of Central Arkansas’ organizational and community services, separates groups for the Operation Safe Walk event Thursday night. PRESTON TOLLIVER PHOTO

By PRESTON TOLLIVER

The University of Central Arkansas Physical Plant worked with the UCA police department, administration, the UCA Student Government Association and university housing student leaders for the second Operation Safe Walk event Thursday night in an attempt to identify safety hazards around the UCA campus.

“We’re encouraging our participants to look for the obvious things,” said Arch Jones, director of organizational and community services. “UCA is a safe campus, and it takes all of us working together to keep it that way.”

Altogether, about 55 volunteers participated in the walk. The participants were split into six groups, each one being responsible for a certain section of campus.

Last year, Jones said, more than 100 items were addressed during the safe walk and about $90,000 was appropriated to fix the problems identified. 

This year, about 150 items were addressed, including new lights and repairing old ones, sidewalk maintenance, landscaping issues, installing emergency phones and crosswalk installations.

The items, Jones said, will be placed into two categories: one for lighting, landscaping and repairs, and another for suggestions that would include buying new items, such as emergency phones.

The first category, he said, the Physical Plant will begin working on immediately.

He said a report was made in January to present to SGA describing all the issues found during the safe walk last November, and by the time of the meeting 57 percent of the issues, had already been addressed.

Physical Plant director Larry Lawrence said, “We said last year there are no bad ideas and we’ll say it again this year.”

The problems addressed included lighting issues, brush and bush issues, the accessibility of emergency phones around campus, hazardous sidewalks, and any other suggestion that is made.

Jones said, “Having Operation Safe Walk and gathering information is one thing, but addressing those problems and not letting them sit on the shelf is another.”

Vice President of Governmental Relations Jeff Pitchford said the Physical Plant had been responsible for identifying the problems in the past, but last year decided to get students, administration and university police involved. 

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