Equipment Failure Brings Power Outage to First Year Village, Froelicher Hall

Article and Photos by : Ben Libeskind


Screen Shot 2019-05-11 at 2.54.05 PMThe First Year Village with short-term emergency lighting after the outage began.

Screen Shot 2019-05-11 at 2.54.50 PMThe Froelicher Hall buildings on Thursday, approximately one hour after losing power.

Screen Shot 2019-05-11 at 2.55.39 PM.pngThe site of the power failure being prepared for the generator during the outage on Thursday.

Public Safety and Facilities Management Services responded to a power outage at the First Year Village and Froelicher Hall on Thursday before sunrise. The outage occurred at approximately 1:30am. A team of electricians from Windsor Electric Company restored electricity to the three Froelicher Hall buildings at approximately 7:00pm, while the three First Year Village buildings remained without power until 1:25am on Friday.

Screen Shot 2019-05-11 at 2.56.20 PM.pngSome blue-light emergency call towers were left out of order during the outage.

An email from Director of Residential Life Lindy Bobbitt was sent to Froelicher Hall and First Year Village Residents detailing the situation. The email advised, “Students who need access to their room should call or report to the Office of Residential Life to be let into their room.” Electric locks and card readers used for building entry were inoperable. Students who have mobility concerns were directed to contact the Office of Residential Life for assistance, as elevators in the First Year Village and door-opening buttons were out of order. The email also instructed Students to bring refrigerated medication to the Office of Public Safety for storage in the Health Center.

Screen Shot 2019-05-11 at 2.56.37 PM.pngDoors across the First Year Village were kept open on Thursday during the outage.

According to First Year Village residents Yasmine Kabbara ‘22 and Addison Hennick ‘22, some students had difficulty re-entering their rooms after the fire alarm went off at approximately 3:00am in Pagliaro Selz Hall. “Public safety officers kept the doors open, but some people couldn’t get into their rooms, so I think the RAs had to help with that,” stated Ms. Kabbara. “All of the doors right now are propped wide open,” said Hennick. Doors were kept open until power was restored. Water was available, however, showers ran cold. Students reported unflushed automatic toilets because some did not know of a manual flush button.

Screen Shot 2019-05-11 at 2.56.59 PM.png

Through the evening, recreational glow sticks were placed in the stairwells of the First Year Village buildings to reduce tripping hazards. At 10:45pm, the generator trailer arrived on site and electricity was restored to the First Year Village at 1:25am on Friday.

Multicolored recreational glow sticks in a stairwell Thursday evening during the outage.

Screen Shot 2019-05-11 at 2.58.23 PM.pngThe generator being positioned at the site of the power failure

The outage originated from a transformer located adjacent to a parking lot between the Sports and Recreation Center (SRC) and President’s House. A Windsor Electric Company electrician stated that the switch controlling electricity for the First Year Village sustained the most damage and needs to be replaced, while another switch that controls electricity for Froelicher Hall was brought back to operating order. One electrician commented, “To the best of our knowledge it was a little bit of moisture that got into one of the insulators and it’s 13,200 volts, so it takes very little of that to penetrate and then it shorts (out).” The electricians said that parts are being flown in and they expect to make the repair on Saturday. As of 3:00pm Saturday, the generator is still in use.

Screen Shot 2019-05-11 at 2.58.44 PM.pngThe generator trailer powering Pagliaro Selz Hall as seen in the background Friday before sunrise.


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