Present: Sheila Berg, Michele Crase, Sandi Carlisle, Steven Estes, Donald Grady, Mary Grosch, Dori Hooker, Joe King, Carl Leoni, Craig Marcus, Jim Murphy, Ron Pearson, Julie Robertson, Lori Sprague, Keith Kruchten (for Alex Underwood).
Absent: William Goldenberg, Robert Huffstutler, Theresa Kirner, Krissy Melander, Frederick Schwantes.
I. CHAIRS ITEMS
A. Chair, Bob Albanese,
called the meeting to order at 2:30 p.m. Roll call was taken. Bob
A. said that William Goldenberg will be replacing Herb Rubin who
has decided to resign as chair of the FS-UC Committee on Resources, Space and Budgets thus making him ineligible to serve on this Committee.
B. The Agenda was approved.
C. The minutes
of the December 17, 2002 meeting were approved with no changes.
D. Chairs Comments
Bob A. said projects for this summer are being discussed and this summer promises to be a busy one. Projects include:
a. Final completion of the Storm Water Project – Most of this project has been completed. There is some additional bridge rehabilitation work
remaining to be done in spring and a few other minor items. The east lagoon has been aesthetically improved and the community has been able to use
the lagoon for ice skating. Bob A. added that because the lagoon is now deeper, the ice will take longer to freeze.
b. Visitor Lot (Lot 17) - Upgrades will include lighting, curbs, gutters, and a new parking booth at the entrance.
c. Gilbert Drive – This work results from a State Capital Development Board (CDB) project which calls for replacing air conditioning equipment. In
doing so, Gilbert Drive will be torn up to lay pipe. In the process and while Gilbert Drive is torn up, Bob A. said NIU will replace and widen the
roadway and construct new curbs and sidewalks. The new road base will be able to better withstand bus traffic. Plans are to finish before the fall
d. West Heating Plant – Also part of the air conditioning project is the construction of a West Heating Plant including pumps and other components.
Hopefully, this will be finished by April of 2003 and improve air conditioning for a number of campus buildings.
e. Construction of Chiller Plant – This is a fall project and will be located near the Campus Life Building. Unfortunately, this will cause the loss of some
parking spaces at that lot.
f. Wirtz Hall Move – This project will take place during the spring.
g. Altgeld Hall Completion – Progress is being made to finish this within the coming year depending on funding for relocation and furniture and
II. New Business
1. Safety and Security Subcommittee
Chair Don G. said the subcommittee is looking into new technology to replace the call box system. A newer system would have the capability of
pinpointing where a person is calling from. Research is being done at present and Don G. will have more information for the Committee at a later date.
Bob A. commented he read of a university using discarded cell phones
programmed to dial 911 only. These phones were distributed to students
frequented outlying parking areas where there was no other means of calling available. He thought this would be worth looking into for NIU.
2. Interior Environmental Subcommittee
Chair, Michele C., said the subcommittee is researching various details of the smoking policy. She cited the lack of students on the subcommittee. Bob A.
asked Julie R. if she might be able to come up with some names of students who would be willing to participate. He reiterated that all residence halls will be
non-smoking next fall. Sandi C. said there is a facilities cross-functional team with representatives from Housing and Dining who are working on the
implementation of the no-smoking program in the residence halls. She said she would share this at a future meeting.
Michele C. said a policy regarding the use of candles and incense burning
in university buildings may have to be developed. She reminded the
subcommittee that the next meeting of the subcommittee will be on February 18.
3. Exterior Environmental Subcommittee
Jim M., Chair, said the subcommittee is working on a plan to analyze bike usage on campus. Plans are to use the media for publicity and perhaps put out a
survey. Bob A. said he has asked Mary Crocker, who is in charge of campus recycling, to look into the feasibility of procuring used bikes for a generic
bicycle program for students' use to bicycle across campus.
Jim M. reported that as a result of Craig M.’s request for a path at Barsema
Hall near Lot A, gravel has been put down and as soon as weather permits
concrete work will be completed.
Jim M. deferred the University Circle congestion problems to the Safety
and Security subcommittee. He also mentioned that the widening of
the bridge on
Route 38 near the lagoon has been deferred to 2006 because of State budget problems. A suspended bicycle bridge will be constructed under the main
bridge to extend the bike path.
He has received a concern regarding the congestion at the intersection
of Garden Road and Lucinda Avenue during class changes for students going
Barsema and the Engineering building. Since these are city streets, Jim M. plans to call personnel at the City of DeKalb engineering department. Another
concern is the lack of a sidewalk to the Convocation Center and the lack of bike loops at the building site.
During a discussion of the increase in parking permits sold, Bob A. said
the last parking master plan was done 12 years ago and an update is scheduled
this spring. The new plan will address, among other things, bike traffic, service vehicle parking and the feasibility of a second parking deck.
III. Other Matters
Bob A. introduced guest speaker Gilbert Sebenste, NIU Staff Meteorologist, whose responsibilities include energy analysis, weather forecasting, and
weather related safety issues. Bob A. said that due to Gilbert's efforts NIU has been designated the only storm-ready and weather-prepared school in the
Gilbert's presentation focused on weather-related safety issues on campus.
He came to Northern in 1998. At the time the weather warning system
consisted of 70 civil defense radios -- some as old as 30 years --, an unreliable phone tree system and inconsistent and delayed weather warnings. There
also was no back-up system. Distribution of weather warnings to the students, staff and faculty was problematic. He felt all these factors contributed to
the incident at the Martin Luther King commons on August 24, 1998 where a number of students were injured when a severe weather warning was not
relayed in time.
However, after Gilbert's arrival, the technology changed dramatically.
Upon looking at the options available such as e-mail, computers and weather
Gilbert decided to start from the ground up. The new technology would make it possible to issue warnings to the campus in three minutes from the time that
a weather bulletin was issued. It also allowed for a multi-tiered redundant system at a reasonable cost as opposed to a cost of up to two million dollars per
building to wire campus buildings for tornado warnings.
Gilbert implemented the new system, which consisted of: (1) 160 NOAA
weather radios throughout campus. (2) Software known as the "weather
which when viewed on campus computers provides up-to-the- minute weather bulletins. The weather bug also reports the amount of rainfall and can
foretell potential flooding conditions within an hour. (3) A computer system which relays weather bulletins through the internet to e-mail subscribers,
pagers, and cell phones. The main web site is: http://weather.admin.niu.edu. (4) Tornado signs in every campus building except the Convocation Center.
(A severe weather plan has been developed for the Convocation Center using the PA system.) (5) Storm spotter training of all police officers and
Environmental Health and Safety employees is conducted once a year. (6) A multi-redundant system that takes over if another one fails. For instance, the
NIU police station has a computer set up so that radar satellite, flood information and all weather bulletins can be accessed instantly. They also have a
weather radio and a communication system that prints out tornado warnings automatically as soon as they come in. (7) NIU's own radio weather station
located on Grant Tower D after an ice storm damaged the radio weather station located in Oregon.
He stated that every NIU-owned pager has the capability to receive weather
bulletins. Michele C. questioned whether all pagers had this capability
automatically or if it has to be requested. Gilbert was sure they all do but he will check on that.
Gilbert cited several measures that aid him in keeping the campus informed.
National weather bulletins arrive on Gilbert's computers within 20 seconds.
The redundancy systems work well. For instance, if the weather radios stop working -- as happened in 1999 because of the Oregon station -- the
weatherbug and the web site are able to pick up the slack. Also the weather radios, e-mail lists and weather bug can all relay local terrorist attack
warnings, messages from police/ fire departments and can aid in evacuating the buildings.
Even though the system works well, Gilbert felt there are some problems
that need to be resolved:
> Funding is needed for more radios. Bob A. inquired as to the cost of the radios which Gilbert said run from $39.95 to $69.95 depending on the amount
> The computer system being used for distributing warnings is getting old.
> A server that went down needs to be replaced.
> There is always the possibility that the system can be disabled by the loss of phone lines.
> During testing periods weather radios are sometimes turned off and they have to be constantly monitored to be sure they are on. This happens mainly in
the residence halls.
Gilbert feels future technical advances will allow us to do even more.
His priorities would include: a) more weather radios for high risk and
areas on campus, b) additional staff to cover his area, c) more severe weather drills for campus staff, d) purchase of faster computer systems to distribute
weather bulletins on a more timely basis and to predict when severe weather is going to hit and where. Those capabilities are limited right now but higher
tech computers would provide this, and, e) fire alarm systems with tornado warning capabilities in future new buildings.
Gilbert mentioned that a tornado touched down on the University of Maryland
campus killing three students and injuring dozens of others. He is presently
working with the Universities of Maryland, Michigan, Kentucky and Kishwaukee College to help them become storm-ready. He concluded by saying that
he was shocked to discover that in an on-line weather policy for a university in Oklahoma its booklet actually said the individuals were "on their own" when
it came to seeking shelter from a tornado.
Michele C. praised his persistence in procuring the radio weathers and
his energy in maintaining all 180 radios. Bob A. thanked Gilbert for his
his enthusiasm in making the campus and the community safe when it comes to severe weather. He also brought up long-term weather forecasting which is
another of Gilbert's responsibilities. His forecasting saves NIU hundreds of thousands of dollars when determining the timing of utility purchases.
IV. Next Meeting - The next meeting will be on February 25, 2003. Bob A. noted there will not be a March meeting. Meetings for the remainder of the year will be on April 22 and May 27.
adjourned at 3:45 p.m.