Unsafe lighting on campus brought to attention

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Although most of the Bellevue College campus is well-maintained and well-lit, some faculty and students of the theater—who often have practices that end well into the evening—have expressed some concerns about poor lighting around the music and drama buildings and safety in the area.

“There [was] no lighting in the parking lot behind the theater, [building] B1. There are lights, but they [did] not go on,” said Tammi Doyle, chair of the Theatre Arts Department of Drama and Dance. Though this problem has recently been worked on and fixed, the lighting is still dim. Tammi Doyle also expressed, “Not only is this [hallway and parking lot behind building B1] a faculty and staff lot for many of us who work late into the night, but it is the back crossover for the student actors and technicians between the stage door of Stop Gap Studio Theatre and the dressing room and shop.” The faculty and music and drama students’ main concern for the poor or nonexistent lighting is that it “is a problem for tripping as well as potential attacks,” according to Doyle. She continued, “There were many nights of walking to cars in the dark or having to wait for public safety officers to escort.”

There was also a need to fix the lights in building B2 (the other faculty and staff parking lot), the path to the student and faculty parking lots 12 and 15, and the lights on the back of the theater and dressing room and shop building. These lighting issues have already been fixed by the school, however.

“I’ve stayed here [in the theater area] once past 5:10 [p.m.],” said Paige, a Bellevue College student. “I feel it’s unsafe, because I feel creeped out walking by myself. I would feel safer if there were better lighting.”

The dimness and lack of lighting especially affects drama and music students who regularly have rehearsals that last well into the evening. For performing students to enter the stage from the Stop Gap Studio, they have to go outside and walk around the backside of the building. They have to do this every night during rehearsals and shows. Lin, a drama student, and his friends expressed that it is rather nerve-wracking and unpleasant when they have to walk in and out of the building during shows.

There is no lighting along the backside of the building because there aren’t any conduits in the area, meaning that maintenance would have to dig up the ground and put wire into it in order to install lights. There is a sensor light and it is connected to the HVAC unit that regulates the air in the building. That unit has been broken for many years causing the sensor light to dysfunction as well. Maintenance found a way to expose the sensor lights to have them come on again last week, so that has been fixed.

Jason Esper of Public Safety, who works at the K Building with security, has been pushing for keeping the safety crew around the dimly lit theater area more frequently. The faculty and staff at the theater believe that this is both a campus issue and a student issue.

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