Student feels ‘shock’ of fencing problem

Jenny Rohl/The News A student, who chose to remain anonymous, was electrically shocked by the fence at the Bill Purcell Tennis Courts.

 

Jenny Rohl/The News A student, who chose to remain anonymous, was electrically shocked by the fence at the Bill Purcell Tennis Courts.

Jenny Rohl/The News
A student, who chose to remain anonymous, was electrically shocked by the fence at the Bill Purcell Tennis Courts.

The recent shut off of the lights surrounding the tennis courts by Regents Residential College has become a necessity for student safety.

On Feb. 20, a student who requested to omit his name, was playing tennis and was shocked by the fence after reaching to pick up his tennis ball.

The student was told by Facilities Management that parts of the fence became electric due to deteriorating wiring of the lights surrounding it.

The wiring deteriorated over the years and came in contact with the fence, causing it to conduct the energy powered to the lights and create a line of flux, which shocked the student.

The student who suffered the shock said it was enough to numb his arm for an hour and compared the shock to a strong jolt that felt like he was being tazed, but suffered no other injuries.

He said he noticed nothing about the lights or the fence before playing tennis and contacted Facilities Management after the event, which led to the lights surrounding the fence to be turned off.

There is no longer powered lighting for the tennis courts and there will not be until Facilities Management resolves the wiring problem.

Kim Oatman, chief officer of Facilities Management, said they are working on a plan to fix the wiring and the fence is no longer electric since the lights are not energized.

“It’s totally safe right now,” Oatman said. “But the downside is that we can’t turn the lights on.”

However, this problem has occurred before, about three years ago, and Facilities Management said they need to assess the problem fully before deciding on what steps to take.

At the time, Facilities Management solved the wiring problem, but since the issue reoccured, Oatman said the lighting as a whole needs to be reevaluated.

“We tested everything out then and it was good,” he said. “It lasted three years, but in another place the wire went bad again. So, I decided we need to shut it down so we can get new wiring.”

Eventually, new wiring will ensure that the fence is no longer dangerous and the lighting will be able to be functional, but the timeline for rewiring is not yet clear.

Because of the recent budget cuts, Facilities Management is unsure of what funding they have for the repairs and there are additional problems, which need to be resolved on campus first.

“We’ve got to come up with the money first, and it’s a tough time with the budget, but we’re working on that,” Oatman said. “But there are quite a few other things that take a higher priority, so I can’t say a time right now of when it will be done.”

The current price tag on repairs is unknown and could be expensive if the lighting fixtures show deterioration along with the wiring.

While Facilities Management cannot fix the lighting and wiring now, Oatman said they intend to complete it as soon as they can.

The lighting problem may be on its way to being fixed, but for now students who live in Regents and White and who play tennis are left without the extra lighting.

Landon Gibbs, sophomore from Washington Court House, Ohio, said the lack of lighting makes that side of campus much darker and could make it more dangerous for students.

“It’s very dark, there isn’t much other light,” Gibbs said. “It could potentially be more dangerous. Students should just be smart about being out alone when it’s dark.”

Gibbs, who lives in White, also plays tennis at the courts, and has gone more as the weather has gotten nicer.

He said the lack of lighting will affect those who want to play.

“It definitely affects the players,” he said. “They can’t stay out as long as they could before.”