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Lights Return for Holiday Season

Lights Return for Holiday Season

By Rosalyn Aquila

Upperclass students and community members alike can let out a sigh of relief the white LED lights lining the trees in the Village will return this week, according to Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds Greg Widener. Putting the lights on has become a Kenyon tradition, he said. People like to see them, especially this time of the year. Maintenance will have them completely installed by the end of the week.

In the past, the College used the lights beyond the winter season. But after two years, the current set of lights had deteriorated. Theyre not made to be outside year-round, Widener said. You buy them around the holidays. You put them up. You take them down. We typically have not done that, so they had deteriorated enough that we could not salvage the last set that was up.

Likewise, for the price of the lights which translates to about$1,360 in materials and another $1,000 in labor updating the lights was not sustainable, according to Widener. Theyre not designed to be out, he said. No lights are designed to be out like that. Theyre seasonal.

The new set of lights will not be on the trees year-round as in years past. Instead, they will likely stay out during the holiday season and come down sometime in January to get more life out of them, according to Widener.

Additionally, Widener and David Boughter, manager of technical trades, are investigating more efficient ways to install the lights. One idea is to run a 35-foot strand extending the length of the branches, as opposed to wrapping the trunk of the tree. This solution would limit installation and upkeep time. If one of [the lights] burned out … we can get to them and service them a little easier, Widener said.

As it stands, it takes two electricians and about three days to install the lights, and two or three strands of lights need some kind of upkeep during the winter. Ultimately, Widener expects these changes will reduce costs by extending the lifespan of the lights.

Though the LED lights will not be year-round, the College does have plans to keep Middle Path bright. Last spring, the Board of Trustees approved a plan prepared by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc. that includes updating the lamp posts, benches and trees lining Middle Path to better aesthetically unify the campus, according to Widener.

Since then, the firm has begun surveying Middle Paths surface and tested different lighting options throughout campus. Any changes, however, likely wont occur until after the firm submits a final plan to the Trustees in the spring.

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