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The Grove takes on new improvements

Petre Thomas

The Grove has been recognized by many as the No. 1 tailgating spot in the country. But as wonderful as it seems, it can still improve. 

The University of Mississippi physical plant recently installed upgrades that bring the Grove one step closer to perfection.

These improvements include new lighting, better cell phone service, new trees and new tailgating policies.

New light poles were installed to replace the lights located in the trees to give off better lighting. The growing trees caused the Grove to become darker and darker over time, and they also created electrical issues.

“As the trees have grown and matured, the wiring in the circuits had literally been pulled apart creating electrical shorts and inoperable circuits,” physical plant director Ashton Pearson said.

The new green light poles will not only serve to give more light, but will also be used as stealth poles, called the Distributed Antenna System, to provide better cell phone service in the Grove. 

There are 17 light poles in interior and 32 poles on the exterior.  

It will take two phases to complete the installation of the perimeter poles. The first phase was recently completed, and the second phase is scheduled to finish on Nov. 11.

New trees were also planted in the Grove.

Due to recent safety issues, which pertain to tailgating for football games, the Ole Miss Alumni Association announced new tailgating policies to help address certain issues.  

The policies include shutting down power to any electrical outlets in the Grove on football game days. No one may connect extension cords across streets or sidewalks, or through open windows and doors.

The new rules do not allow overloading electrical circuits by plugging in multiple extension cords, splitters or power-strips.

Additionally, no one is allowed to adjust the university’s electrical distribution equipment.   

Pearson said the rules were implemented because of the risk of electrical shock and the risk of fire. He said evidence showed a number of people tampered with electrical distribution panels and outlet boxes, which involved tearing off locks to the access panels and removing and not replacing the inner protective panel. 

“Anyone who reached inside this panel was subject to receiving an electrical shock that could very well have resulted in an unfortunate situation that none of us would want to deal with,” Pearson said.

They also found 28 extension cords plugged into two circuits for the Georgia home game when people utilized splitters and power strips, which created both the electrical shock and fire risk.   

Tailgaters may still use any building’s exterior electrical outlet, and portable gene rators with a 60 decibel rating or lower are still permitted.

Pearson said the whole project will not be finished until late fall.