Gannon Announces New $1.1 Million Lighting System

Lighting over West SeventhPosted: January 31, 2013

Jan. 31, 2013 -- Gannon University has taken a major step toward beautifying the campus and creating a safer environment for students through a new lighting system spread over 18 city blocks.

Gannon University President Keith Taylor, Ph.D. announced the $1.1 million investment in the campus and in the City of Erie at a press conference today at Gannon’s Old Main. Dr. Taylor was joined for the announcement by Erie Mayor Joe Sinnott, who said the lights will improve the livability and walkability of the campus and surrounding neighborhoods. 

The University recently installed 104 LED, energy-efficient light posts from Peach to Chestnut streets on West Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth streets. The lights are one of numerous strategic upgrades in Gannon University’s Campus Master Plan and give the campus an even more distinctive and artistic look, feel, and identity. The light posts are 23 feet tall and were designed with decorative fixtures and a nautical theme owing to the University’s proximity to Presque Isle Bay.

In addition, by better illuminating the areas in which students frequently walk to and from classes, the lights will help create a safer environment for them and for visitors and nearby residents. As with many University initiatives, the lighting project was student driven and reflects their priorities.

“Renovation, beautification, and construction projects tend to be driven by the needs of our students,” Dr. Taylor said. “Because the campus in many ways serves as a ‘home away from home’ for our students, our focus is on providing them a learning and living environment in which they can thrive.

“In addition, this investment and involvement reflects the University’s concern for and contribution, on a broad and personal level, to our students and to the City of Erie,” Dr. Taylor added. “It is one more effort on the part of Gannon University to ensure a sustainable, healthy, safe, and enjoyable community for us all to live, work, play, and learn.”

Landis Erwin, a 2012 Gannon graduate, helped provide momentum for the project when, as a senior, she served as president of the University’s Student Government Association. Under her leadership, SGA surveyed students in terms of the campus improvements they most wanted to see.

Based on the surveys, many students expressed an interest in more consistent lighting throughout campus. In addition, lighting often had been an informal topic of discussion among students, Erwin said.

“I think students will be excited not only because of how much the lights add to the look of the campus, but also in terms of what they mean relative to student safety,” Erwin said. “It’s very gratifying to see this come to fruition and know that Student Government Association was able to make a positive impact on current and future Gannon University students.”

Erwin credits Gannon’s administration, Office of Campus Police and Safety, and Office of Campus Services for working collaboratively with students to help identify possible locations for lighting. “The students are grateful and know that the project was possible because of their support,” she added.

Angela Coustillac, Gannon’s current Student Government Association president, said the lights are a welcome addition to Gannon’s urban campus. “They help to better define the campus and make it more identifiable for students and visitors,” Coustillac said.

Going forward, Gannon also hopes to work collaboratively with nearby residents to address their concerns related to pruning trees near the new lights. 

The lighting is just one of Gannon University's recent investments in the campus and in downtown Erie.

In 2011, Gannon’s newest residence hall, North Hall, opened its doors to nearly 300 students. The $17 million building, located at 143 West Fourth St., houses both upperclassmen and freshmen and includes numerous student amenities, including wireless access, a convenience store, study areas, fitness areas, and communal kitchens.

Gannon acquired the former Boys & Girls Club building, 130 West Eighth St., and, after a complete renovation of the building, converted it into a high-tech business incubator. The Erie Technology Incubator, which opened in 2008, nurtures early-stage and start-up advanced technology businesses and entrepreneurs by providing critical resources and support services.

Gannon also acquired another nearby building, the former Verizon building at 150 West Tenth St., and extensively renovated it. The building, dedicated in 2008 as the Robert H. Morosky Academic Center, houses Gannon University’s academic programs in the health professions and sciences and the region’s largest and most comprehensive Patient Simulation Center. The Simulation Center has served as a state-of-the-art learning environment for Gannon students and has been a valuable resource for local and regional healthcare providers.