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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Students initiate maintenance projects

Student Government has been working with SSC Service Solutions, the organization that handles maintenance at A&M, to reinstall commemorative plaques at Simpson Drill Field and to solve Bonfire Memorial
lighting issues.
Matt Keller, SGA student services chair and senior industrial distribution major, said it was brought to Student Senate’s attention that there were once 55 plaques next to each oak tree around Simpson Drill Field to commemorate the 55 Aggies who died during WWI. Amanda Hatheway, SGA chief of staff and senior business major, introduced a bill calling for the return of the plaques and SGA began a search to find the missing plaques.
“Basically, the plaques were being stored in the Corps Center,” Keller said. “They had been outside a lot so they had been corroded. We contacted the maintenance company, told them we found these plaques and that we wanted to fix them up and put them back out. They came up with the whole idea of putting them on stands and how to do it. So SGA is actually going to have another allocation bill to fund half of that refurbishing for the plaques, and the maintenance company is going to fund the other half.”
Richard Gentry, director of the physical plant staff for SSC Service Solutions, said it would cost about $140 for each plaque holder. For all 55 plaques, he said SGA would be asking for $3,850 to fund half of the plaques.
Gentry first proposed the plaque holder concept and funding proposals to Student Senate and said he has involved other A&M organizations in the project.
“The plaques are really worn and are in need of cleaning,” Gentry said. “As part of the project I told them I would fund the materials used for cleaning the plaques and Traditions Council has agreed to clean all the plaques. Then we’ll place the plaques on the
new holders.”
Gentry said the timeline for the plaque’s installation is dependent on Student Senate allocating the funds for
the project.
Gentry said he has spoken with the Corps of Cadets in regards to possibly having a rededication ceremony for the plaques next
Veterans Day.
SGA has also been working on cleanup at the Bonfire Memorial. Collin Kruger, sophomore finance major, works on SGA’s student services team to identify maintenance issues at
the memorial.
“We noticed that a lot of things were missing, a lot of the light bulbs were out and a lot of things that just should just have been taken better care of,” Kruger said. “It is a really sacred memorial to our University and it means a lot to us.”
Keller said after students expressed their concern over the maintenance of the Bonfire Memorial, maintenance has been working to resolve the issues.
“It is such a big part of what Texas A&M is still, what it symbolized,” Keller said. “So the fact that [maintenance] has taken it up and really started to maintain the Bonfire Memorial makes me really happy to see that compared to what it was at the beginning of the semester.”
Gentry said fixing the lighting issues at Bonfire Memorial is more complicated than just replacing a light bulb.
“It was designed and installed 11 years ago, and the lighting technology at the time was state of the art,” Gentry said. “But you know, over time, those systems have to be upgraded and redone. We had some trouble sourcing those lights because a lot of those lights they don’t make anymore because LED technology has moved on. Getting repair parts has been
very difficult.”
Gentry said maintenance is bringing in a lighting consultant to find the best way to update the memorial. In the meantime, Gentry said maintenance is working to keep everything up
and running.
“All the lights should be up and burning by Friday,” Gentry said. “Except for one exception – one of the yellow lights on the timeline costs around $750 and must be bought in bulk.”
Maintenance has plans to make the bathrooms at the Bonfire Memorial more American Disabilities Act- accessible by putting in some small ramps, Gentry said.
“It is a work in progress to get it back to where it needs to be, and then in the mean time we are looking for a long-term solution that would have to be funded somehow on installing more up-to-date lighting fixtures,” Gentry said.

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