Fences have been installed on the top floors of the Richard A. Beard Garage and Crescent Hill Parking Garage as part of a series of suicide prevention measures, according to Director of Media Relations Althea Johnson.
The addition of top floor fencing – which is the second phase of the project – is part of a $3.8 million multiphased approach to install “additional protective measures” on open air garage structures due to recent suicides at the Tampa campus, according to Johnson.
University Police (UP) investigated two separate suicides at the Beard garage in September 2022 and July of this year. Though the initial announcement regarding the measures was made in September last year following the first suicide, phase one was not completed until early 2023.
This first phase consisted of adding buffering landscape at ground levels and signage for suicide preventions on upper floors, Johnson said. In areas where trees and shrubs can’t be placed awnings will be used.
Other garages that will have fencing installed include the Leroy Collins Garage and Laurel Drive Garage, which will be completed in September, according to Johnson. The 5th Avenue Garage at the St. Pete campus will be included in the project and will receive fencing in October.
Fencing will also be placed in between floors – from middle floor levels and higher – as part of the third phase of the project, with an expected completion date between January and May 2024, Johnson said.
The fences installed on the top floors will have an ornamental design, whereas the mid-level floors will have a vinyl-coated chain link, according to Johnson.
Installation is spread out due to the availability of the materials needed for the project. Work is also being completed at one garage at a time to minimize the impact on parking availability on campus, according to Johnson.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call or text 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.