Permanent lighting a new Y Mountain feature

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Mark Philbrick and Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo/ University Communications
Changes are being made to the Y and the trail on of which is the installation of permanent lighting on the 380-foot-tall letter. Here staff members lend a hand at the installation. (University Communications)

One of Provo’s most recognizable symbols is getting a face lift.

The Y on the mountain overlooking BYU campus is undergoing some renovations over the next few weeks as workers add permanent lighting to the outline of the block letter. Changes are expected to make lighting the Y during special campus events much easier according to BYU spokesman Todd Hollingshead.

“In the past they had to take the lights up there for every occasion: homecoming, graduation and now it will be much easier because the lights will already be on there,” Hollingshead said. “There will be an electrical conduit so it will be easier just to turn them on and off when those special times come.”

Hollingshead added that more than 183 permanent lights are being installed and the electrical conduit is being routed within the next 10 days.

People may have noticed the shape and color of the Y varying during the construction. Hollingshead explained they are currently adding gunite, a type of concrete the Y is made out of, around the lights to level the Y. This, as well as erosion repairs, is the cause for the different shape and color of the Y.

Hollingshead assured that the Y will look the same as it did before.

While major aesthetic changes won’t be made to the Y, some smoothing and shoring of the trail will take place. Road base, a mixture of dirt and gravel, will be added to spots of the trail where erosion has taken place to smooth it out. Hollingshead said the plan is to have all renovations complete by the end of the summer in preparation for the start of the 2016 Fall Semester.

Hollingshead also said work will not prohibit community members and students from hiking the trail, and that the university does not anticipate closing the trail at any point during construction.

Mark Philbrick and Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo/ University Communications
Staff members smile as they help to install the new lighting system on the Y. (University Communications)

For many students, the Y and the hike up the mountain have been a treasured part of their experience at BYU.

“The Y has been a constant at BYU.” said McKall Harris, a BYU sophomore from Colorado.

Harris, who loves to hike the Y, is excited about the upcoming changes.

“I’m a big fan. I think the changes, not making it so steep and eroded, will make it so people can hike it at all times of the year.”

Eighty-one acres of the over 100-year-old trail including the ‘Y’ was purchased by BYU from the Forest Service March 2016 and renovations began in June.

Hollingshead said he thinks the university will likely be considering additional times to light the Y in addition to homecoming and graduation.

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