Measures bust budget
Scaffolding surrounding Rotunda costs $150,000 more than initially planned
Preventative measures the University is taking to keep trespassers off the Rotunda scaffolding could cost the school up to $150,000 more than it had initially budgeted for the roof project, University spokesperson Carol Wood said Sunday.
Facilities Management installed the scaffolding during the summer months to allow construction workers to access the Rotunda roof. The University realized shortly after that students would be tempted to climb the temporary structures and began to look for methods of addressing the potential safety issue.
The dark green netting on the Lawn was the first attempt at creating a deterrent, but did not seem to discourage trespassing, Wood said.
“As the time for the beginning for fall session grew near, it became apparent that more and more students were attracted to this new venue,” Wood said in an email.
Individuals caught trespassing are issued a trespass warning, and face judicial charges, University spokesperson McGregor McCance said.
Police have said they will arrest second-time offenders.
In August the University installed motion sensor lights on the scaffolding to allow police to clearly see individuals on the scaffolding and accost them when they descend the roof.
But when the lights did not deter trespassers, the University hired private security guards to patrol the Rotunda during the night.
“Recently, some students have waited until the guards went off duty to begin their climb, so we are… extending the patrol hours,” Wood said.
Guards will now patrol until daylight, although Wood said the exact timing has yet to be decided.
Most recently, construction workers installed eight-foot wooden barriers to hinder individuals from accessing the scaffolding.
“That may seem like a lot of precautionary measures, but the safety issues are great,” Wood said. “We don’t want students to fall off the scaffolding — and that is a real possibility if they continue to try to climb up.”
McCance said he knew of one student who had slipped while attempting to descend the Rotunda roof, but added the individual caught himself and did not fall.
The University has issued a number of warnings to students about the potential dangers of falling off of the Rotunda scaffolding.
Patricia Lampkin, vice president and chief student affairs officer, advised students against “’urban exploration’ of the Grounds or surrounding area” in an Aug. 23 University-wide email.
“Remember, the inconveniences are temporary, and taking a risk or a dare is never worth the potential for serious injury,” Lampkin said.
University Police arrested eight students in August for trespassing and accessing the Rotunda via the scaffolding. Police did not respond to inquiries about trespassing arrests for the current month.