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Power outage leaves campus dark for hours Wednesday

staff writer

Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013

Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 12:02

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STUDENTS WALK THROUGH DARK HALLS on the ground floor of the Taggart Student Center during the power outage Wednesday. SAMANTHA BEHL photo

 

 

As many as 13 buildings were left without power for a portion of Wednesday morning for what at the time appeared to be unknown causes, according to USU campus officials.

Patrick Williams, a spokesperson for USU Campus Facilities, said power went out at the Public Relations and Marketing Building around 8:40 a.m. 

While assessing the situation, he said it was also observed power had been shut off in Widtsoe Hall, the Living and Learning Community, Alumni Center, HPER building and the Taggart Student Center until around noon Wednesday.

“It took a while to track down problems, but it seems there was some sort of defect in the system,” Williams said.

Williams said facilities performed a power feedback to restore power in the buildings later in the morning, which shut down electricity in Old Main and the Biology and Natural Resources Building for a brief period of time.

Williams said there was no definitive cause behind the power outage, but problems could have risen anywhere from an equipment issue or faulty transformer or switch, and Facilities is currently investigating the situation.

“The last update I have received is they are still in the midst of investigating and it may take some time,” Williams said. “Power has been restored and they are very busy right now trying to track this down.”

The outage affected several buildings on campus, particularly inside the dining halls, Campus Store and other offices inside the TSC.

Jasmin Diaz, a senior studying sociology and Campus Store employee, said she came in to work at around 10 a.m., about an hour after the outage occurred.

“A lot of students seemed disappointed because they need scantrons or supplies for classes,” Diaz said. “We were able to help students with money but not much else. Overall though, things seemed to go just fine until the power came back on.”

Parking was also affected by the outage. Teresa Johnson, business manager for the Parking and Transportation Department, said power was taken from all structures in the parking terrace. 

With no power to run them, parking gates had to be lifted manually and customers were allowed to leave the parking area without charge.

Christie Wittwer, a junior studying physics, said she was in a kickboxing class in the HPER when the power went out.

“We weren’t too shocked at first, but I was a bit surprised it lasted as long as it did,” she said. “Our instructor just had to do an impromptu workout in the dark for a bit and we were let out early.”

Wittwer said though the power was a bit of an inconvenience, most students in her class didn’t appear all too upset.

“Nobody seemed too thrown off about it. I guess sometimes you just get lucky and get out of class early,” Wittwer said.

Williams said this was a rare situation and felt it was handled well by the campus.

“Like any environment, power usually goes out at home where you can’t do much,” he said, “Luckily here we were able to go and deal with it. We are just happy the power is back up and running.”

 

– steve.schwartzman@aggiemail.usu.edu

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