Fence around campus offers increased safety, more controlled access to property, admins saySep 26, 2017 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer
A new piece of infrastructure has appeared at Central Wyoming College this summer: a fence that spans the western and northern edges of campus.
Administrators say the structure serves two purposes - it increases campus safety while also addressing needs identified in CWC's master plan.
'Wandering into campus'
A master plan developed in 2012 for CWC's property in Riverton identified "some security issues with kids from (the) housing development to the west wandering into campus."
HGA, the architecture, engineering and planning firm that helped develop the master plan, suggested that a fence might address the problem.
Campus safety director Chuck Carr said the fence provides "natural access control" to campus, denying potential criminals an easy way to contact vulnerable targets by creating a perception of risk.
"Would-be perpetrators of crime like settings or environments they can enter or leave without being noticed," he explained.
Now, he said, the fence will physically guide people to specific locations where they can enter and exit campus. He believes criminal activity will be low in those locations, since they will be populated by anyone coming and going from CWC.
"Criminal activity is generally reduced when an area is being observed informally by others who are present or nearby," he said. "It creates a risk of detection to intruders and offenders, and a perception of safety to legitimate users."
Carr said people tend to feel safer in places where they can be seen, and where they can see what is going on around them.
"Perpetrators of crime, in contrast, prefer settings that are not visible to law abiding people who might assist their victims," he said.
He said the new fence enhances feelings of "territoriality" among campus users by visibly representing their ownership and control of the property.
"Potential offenders, perceiving this control, are discouraged from committing illegal acts," he said.
Physical plant director Wayne Robinson said the idea for a fence was bolstered when CWC began to prepare for this summer's solar eclipse event.
"Preliminary planning that we conducted last year for the eclipse noted the challenges in trying to control access into the north portion of the campus," he said.
Definition and clarity
The idea of controlled access to campus goes back to CWC's 2006 master plan, which indicated that the north edge of the property could be designed to better direct vehicular and pedestrian traffic, according to Robinson.
"Establishing entry points into the campus and establishing vehicle and pedestrian routes contributes to good way finding," he said.
In 2012, HGA said a centralized entrance would provide more definition and clarity to the western edge of campus, which, at that time, featured "multiple unclear parking lot entrances" that made normal tasks like making deliveries to housing units more difficult than necessary.
The fence project was publicly advertised, and bids were opened in May 2017, Robinson said; CWC received three responses and determined that WYO Services LLC from Upton was the lowest responsible bidder. That company as awarded the contract and completed the project in July. Robinson said the construction cost for the fence was $77,761.