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Contractors worked in ECU residence halls this summer to complete installations of sprinkler systems, as part of an ongoing plan to install the systems in all residential buildings by 2012. The work was being completed while students were away for summer break. (Photos by Marc J. Kawanishi)

ECU Continues to Install Dormitory Sprinkler Systems

By Christine Neff

Two more residence halls on the East Carolina University campus now have fire protection sprinkler systems.

Contractors finished installations at Cotten and Fleming Residence Halls in the central campus this summer. The project brings ECU closer to its goal of having sprinkler systems in all residential buildings by 2012.

Kemal Atkins, ECU vice provost for student affairs, said, “This is an important project for us, and we’re certainly moving ahead to make sure our students are safe and that we complete this project in the most effective and efficient way possible.”

Construction at Cotten and Fleming began in May after students moved out for summer break.

Fire protection systems in ECU dormitories will improve safety for residential students.

When students return for the fall semester, they will find sprinklers in the hallways and individual rooms of those buildings.

In addition to Cotten and Fleming, Jarvis and the College Hill Suites have sprinkler systems at this time.

Work at Aycock and Jones Residence Halls – the next two buildings slated for safety improvements – will begin in May 2009. Tyler and Scott Residence Halls will get sprinklers during renovations of those buildings also planned for summer 2009.

Sprinkler systems will be put in the remaining residence halls in subsequent summers. By 2012, all 15 residence halls will have the fire protection systems.

Atkins said the campus-wide project has a price tag of more than $8 million. Funds for the installations come from housing fee receipts and institutional allocations for repair and renovations.

“These projects are time intensive, and they’re costly, but we know we need to look out for the safety and the well-being of the students that we serve at this institution,” Atkins said.

In addition to better protecting students who live on campus, ECU continues to work with Greek organizations to improve safety at their off-campus houses.

“While we don’t have jurisdiction over those houses, they are housing our students,” Atkins said.

“We’re working very closely with them to make sure they have the same type of safety systems in their facilities as we have on campus.”

The university has coordinated meetings with Greek organizations to determine the type of safety systems they have now and what improvements can be made. The last meeting was held in July.

Atkins said the university intends to provide the groups with information about sprinkler system design and contractors, and encourage them to work together to reduce costs.

This page originally appeared in the Aug. 1, 2008 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at