Commission OKs pricey new lights at Seattle airport

Herald staff

SEATTLE — How many employees does it take to change a light bulb in the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport parking garage?

In some cases, workers found, no number would be enough because the fixtures are too outdated, and that’s one reason the cost of a garage lighting overhaul has nearly doubled to $9.2 million.

The Port Commission gave the green light Monday for the installation of new lighting to improve security in the eight-story concrete garage, which has 13,000 parking places.

In April 1999 the lighting overhaul was estimated to cost $4.9 million, but planners later found that original fixtures in much of the 30-year-old garage failed to meet current building codes and industry standards, airport spokesman Bob Parker said.

"We’re just not able to change the bulbs," Parker said. "There are a lot of changes needed in the infrastructure, including new fixtures, lowering fixtures and installing things like battery backup systems."

  • Evergreen named leadership institution: The Evergreen State College will be among a select group of schools charting a new course for undergraduate education. The college has been named one of 16 leadership institutions by the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ Greater Expectations Initiative. "The project is going to attempt to stimulate a national conversation about the liberal arts — where we are, where we’re going," Provost Barbara Smith said. "Evergreen is in some ways one of the most successful and radical examples of how to reinvent an institution with a focus on teaching and learning." Evergreen is in company with Duke University, Hampshire College, the U.S. Air Force Academy and the University of Michigan. Seventy-three applied to be leadership institutions.

  • First N-canisters moved: The first canister containing spent nuclear fuel has been moved from a leaky pool near the Columbia River to a dry storage plant near the center of the Hanford nuclear facility. The cask containing vacuum-dried nuclear fuel from the K-West Basin was transported about 9 miles Monday to a new canister storage building, where it will be placed in one of 220 underground tubes inside a concrete vault, Energy Department spokeswoman Andrea Powell said. The placement of the canister in the tube for permanent storage is the third and final step in the Energy Department’s plan to remove about 2,100 tons of spent fuel, including 4 tons of plutonium, from the K Basins. The fuel, from Hanford’s defunct N Reactor, has been stored underwater in the K Basins, which are large pools built in the 1950s with a planned use life of 20 years.

  • Man gets one-year term in bedsore death: A man who pleaded guilty to mistreatment in the death of a retired logger who died of untreated bedsores at an unlicensed care home has been sentenced to a year in jail. Michael Lindley, 44, of Sequim, who was originally charged with first-degree manslaughter, pleaded guilty in October to first-degree criminal mistreatment in the death of Clifford Bailey, 97, a resident at an adult family home owned by Roger Parmenter, 49, of Seattle. Parmenter, considered the main culprit by Bailey’s relatives, also has pleaded guilty to mistreatment. A hearing is scheduled Thursday for his attorney to contest a presentence investigation report that apparently recommends that Parmenter be sentenced to more than the standard maximum of 14 months under state guidelines.

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