Lighting in atrium poses safety issue

School officer, administration and custodial staff work towards solving the problem


Clara Oesterling

The lighting in the atrium mostly comes from natural sunlight. When it is dark outside, it is often dark in the atrium.

Lily Berggoetz, Reporter

Everyday around 6:15 a.m., head custodian, John LeFevers turns on the building lights. However, there is one concern some have with the lighting in the east side of the school, near the atrium and the pool.

The lights in the atrium are very dimly lit or sometimes not lit at all, according to LeFevers. This is a potential safety issue now that there is less daylight and the atrium is supported by track lights and a sky roof. School police officer Rose expands on the problem and gives ideas and suggestions on how the situation could improve.

“It’s not like there is no lighting at all, but if we were to have an event and there were a lot of students in that area, there’s not really a lot of emergency lighting. If the power goes out, (and) it’s dark, then it could definitely be an issue,” LeFevers said.

The lighting outside of the atrium is another potential safety risk, according to Rose. Rose says the exterior lighting near the east gym had not been turned on for some time.

“We have had existing lighting, but it wasn’t being turned on in the mornings when the students are arriving,” Rose said.

The lights are now turned on in the morning, but they had remained off due to budget problems. According to Assistant Principal Andrew Ashcraft, the budget does play a role in this situation. The funds are put towards projects of higher priority that benefit the students and staff.

Ashcraft mentioned that, by law, the lighting is not unsafe. He has a Google document with the master list of the building’s needs. He collaborates with our head custodian, our groundsman and our maintenance man to decide what (are) the priority projects for the safety of the students.

“If I take money away from other projects that are more necessary in order to solve that problem then I’m leaving out or not helping other students in other ways. It’s a balance.” Ashcraft said.

Ashcraft also mentioned how important it is to inform someone if you think there is a safety risk.

“If you see something as a safety concern or issue, you should let an adult know.” Ashcraft said. “We want to provide, at a minimum, a safe building.”

Officer Rose explained that he would like to see everyone safe. He then explained lights can help you avoid being in and involved in situations like pick pocketing, fights and drug exchanges.

“We use the light as a tool, (and) we feel that the light is one more tool to help people feel more comfortable in their environment and to prevent somebody from taking advantage of a dark situation,” Rose said.