ALLENDALE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Consumers Energy is speeding up its plans to add more lighting to Grand Valley State University’s Allendale campus, after four recent reports of sexual assaults and a shooting nearby.
GVSU installed about six temporary lighting units along 48th Avenue near West Campus Drive Friday. The university is considering adding a few additional units to nearby streets including Pierce Street, near where the most recent sexual assault reportedly happened at Trio Townhomes.
Some GVSU students say the temporary lights are providing a better sense of security.
“I think they’re a good idea. I think it’s helpful. The students, most of what they’ve been asking for is more lighting,” said Erica Orman, a senior living in nearby off-campus apartments.
Consumers Energy said it planned to add permanent lighting to the area before the recent series of attacks, but has pushed up its timeline for finishing the project. Design crews with the utility were on site Monday.
“We’re finalizing our design for the permanent solution for street lights, probably attached to many of these poles,” said Consumers Energy spokesman Roger Morgenstern, pointing to one of the power poles along 48th near West Campus Drive.
Even though the area is off campus, GVSU is splitting the cost of the permanent lights with Consumers Energy.
“This isn’t Grand Valley property,” said Tim Timmesch, the associate vice president of Facility Services at GVSU. “But these are out students that live out here on this side of 48th.”
Morgenstern said the company hopes to install the permanent lights within the next few weeks if township permits are approved.
Though they think the lights will help, some students would like to see additional security measures put in place.
“I think security within the apartment complex would be a better idea,” said GVSU senior Lindsey Luginpill, a resident in one of the off-campus apartments along 48th.
Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Mark Bennett said deputies are meeting with off-campus apartment managers to discuss additional security measures. GVSU said it was working with the apartment owners, too. Some complexes already stepped up security: Trio Townhomes said Absolute Security was adding another security guard and patrol car to its detail.
Bennet said the investigation into the sex assaults continues. While authorities have interviewed several people, they have no suspects in custody.
A 23-year-old man has been charged in the shooting that critically injured another man.
Students are reminded to always be aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious activity.
***CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story credited Consumers Energy for the temporary lighting, which was actually brought in by GVSU. We regret this error, which has since been corrected.***