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UA begins installation of new emergency phones


Randy Metcalf
Arizona Daily Wildcat

A new "blue light" phone has been erected at the west end of the UA Mall by UAPD and university officials. By the semester's end, 31 similar phones will be installed.

By Ty Young
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
November 4, 1999
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In an attempt to improve campus safety, university officials and UAPD are working together to build 31 additional emergency telephones throughout campus.

Herb Wagner, assistant director of University of Arizona Risk Management, said the three-phase project was first designed two years ago when he was asked to chair a committee to implement the safety devices and renovate the existing phones.

Wagner said the project involves more than additional blue-light phones. "It includes the blue-light phones, the existing emergency phones, elevator phones and the whole gambit of anything involving dialing directly to the police station through the 911 line," Wagner said.

Wagner said that the 11 emergency phones on campus did not meet current American Disabilities Act codes because users must pick up a receiver in order to talk to the police station.

To dial the new phones, users will only need to push a red button.

John Lane, senior engineer from UA Facilities Design and Construction, said the phones will be easy for campus commuters to use in the event of an emergency.

"It's really easy," he said. "If there is an emergency, all a person needs to do is push the red button, and it will establish a connection with UAPD."

Sgt. Michael Smith, UAPD spokesman, agreed that the phones will allow quick and easy access to UAPD.

"They ring directly to our dispatch," he said. "Our officers will respond immediately to the call."

Wagner said the 31 additional phones mark the first phase of the campus safety project. The UA will add 37 more phones in the summer.

The last phase will be a renovation project that will add emergency lights to all campus pay phones, as well as change the current emergency phones to meet ADA standards.

The emergency phones in the parking garages were also considered inaccessible for the general public because users must actually be inside the structure. Decisions concerning replacement will occur later during phase three.

Some students said they thought that the $190,000 needed to complete the first phase is a small price to pay to make a safer campus.

"A lot of people don't feel safe when walking around campus at night," said Sarah Conway, a ceramics sophomore. "It is certainly beneficial. It will make people feel more safe."

Conway's brother Adam, visiting from San Diego, acknowledged the need for the emergency phones.

"It's extremely important for many reasons," he said. "First of all it is important for the safety of students, especially women walking around campus at night. It will also be impressive for parents of prospective students because they will be more likely to send their students to a safe campus."

Wagner also said UA President Peter Likins played an integral part in the project.

"He (Likins) actually had a homicide at his last university, Lehigh (Bethlehem, Penn.), and felt that the phones were a much needed investment," he said.

Lane said the project will be completed at the end of the semester.

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