Sprinklers installed at ISR for fire safety

By Michael Logli

The University Housing Department, in an effort to continuously protect students from fire hazards, finished installing new sprinkler systems and fire alarms into the Illinois Street Residence Halls. These new fire safety precautions, connected to a large and powerful computing system, are the halfway point for a continuous project by the department to update fire detection systems.

“These new systems are louder, better, and more responsive,” said Kirsten Ruby, assistant director of housing and marketing.

The idea to update the sprinkler systems originally started in 2001 when new sprinkler systems were installed in Daniels Hall, 1010 W. Green St. Since then, the department has finished installing new sprinkler systems in Sherman Hall, 909 S. Fifth St., and the Florida Avenue Residence Halls, Ruby said.

The Housing Department is updating both graduate and undergraduate residence halls because the department believes in the importance of fire safety. Fire safety is one aspect of general student safety, and this is taken very seriously, Ruby said.

“It’s part of (freshman) orientation in the fall,” Ruby said. “We want everyone to be aware of how important it is.”

All residence halls have fire drills several times in the year, Ruby said. Also, persons who disrespect the fire safety guidelines by doing something like creating false alarms face severe penalties.

“I cannot go into what kind of sanctions will take place, because it depends on the circumstances,” Ruby said. “However, we take them very seriously.”

According to the current schedule, installing new sprinkler and fire safety systems in the remaining halls will take approximately five more years. Wardall Hall, in ISR, is expected to complete installation of a new sprinkler system in the summer of 2007. After this, new sprinkler systems will be installed in the Goodwin-Green Apartment complex by 2008, followed by installation in Allen Hall and the Lincoln Avenue Residence Halls by 2009. The Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Halls sprinkler systems will be installed by 2010, and by 2012, the Housing Department hopes to have new systems installed in Barton-Lundgren, Taft-Van Doren, and the Gregory Drive and Peabody Drive residence halls.