Eastern University is complying with a request made by the state of Pennsylvania concerning sprinkler systems being placed in all university buildings. This request was made after a tragedy in 2000 at Seton Hall University, New Jersey, which claimed the lives of three 18 year olds.
Following the Seton Hall incident, New Jersey passed a mandate stating that all colleges and universities were to be equipped with sprinkler systems in all residence halls by August of 2004. Pennsylvania wanted to enact the same law and follow suit by 2005, but instead pulled back the mandate and requested that all universities put an action plan together.
This action plan includes all colleges and universities using their own discretion in placing sprinkler systems in the schools.
“Eastern has abided and is committed to that plan,” said Rob Smith, director of campus services.
At this time, the university is working on installing sprinkler systems in Warner Library and Doane Hall. Doane A was completed in 2003, Doane D will be completed this year and Doane B and C are pending completion in 2005.
“What awaits us for the future is Guffin in 2006 and either Kea or Gallup in 2007,” Smith said.
At this moment Gough, Hainer and North Campus Hall have a full sprinkler system along with Heritage House, Workman Hall, and the cafeteria area of Walton.
Sprinkler systems will soon be a part of every buidling.
The construction of the sprinkler system will cause traffic to be tight along Thomas Drive for the next few weeks.
“Workers will be digging holes four feet deep and 24 inches wide in Thomas Drive in order to accommodate the six inch sprinkler lines,” Smith said.
As workers place the new sprinkler systems in each building, they are also completing other tasks while each building is off the water line.
“Lights and tiles are being replaced and fully equipped fire alarm systems are being put in residence halls as we work on the sprinkler systems,” Smith said. “This is a project that is costly but will undoubtedly save the lives of many,” he added.
The sprinkler system service alone will cost the school about $42,000. This year Eastern will spend about $36,000 for the work in Doane Hall. Along with the individual costs, there are also fees that must be paid yearly as construction continues.
“The ultimate goal of the school is to keep the students safe and not allow another Seton Hall incident to reoccur,” Smith said.