Power outages leave students in the dark

Students across campus were left in the dark early Thursday morning after a widespread power outage.

The outage occurred around 1:30 a.m. and power remained off until mid-morning for most locations.

Associate Director of Residence Life Dave Cooper said, according to information he had, it was believed that the power outage was potentially due to a failed electrical feed from Encore Energy Partners LP, the university’s energy supplier. He said he was unsure why the electricity connection failed to feed into campus.

According to workers in the residence halls, other buildings on campus were affected, including Sherley Hall, Foster Hall, Colby Hall, King Hall, Waits Hall and all buildings in the Tom Brown/Pete Wright apartments. Mary Couts Burnett Library was also affected by the outage.

Cooper said there may have been more buildings on campus affected by the power outage.

Associate Dean of the Library Tracy Hull said when the power turned off, more than 100 students were inside the building.

Students initially remained in the library for a few minutes waiting for the power to return, Hull said. After 10 minutes of darkness, many students left the building for the night.

June Koelker, dean of the library, was contacted at home at 2 a.m., Hull said. Koelker then told library staff members to close the building if the power did not return by 2:30 a.m.

With only one staff member on duty and no power, the library closed at 2:30 a.m., Hull said.

Hull said power was restored around 3 a.m. and that, after checking all systems in the building, the library reopened at 4:30 a.m. Thursday.

“Everyone got out of the building safely, so it really went quite smoothly,” Hull said.

Because of the power outage, Hull said the recently-installed card swipe station at the front of the building malfunctioned. The front door of the library had to be propped open for several hours Thursday.

Richard Bryan, associate director of operations for the TCU Physical Plant, could not be reached for comment.

Cooper said the residence halls that lost power experienced the same card-swipe malfunction as the library. Any of the buildings without power that required card access for entry temporarily malfunctioned, but the residence halls were able to respond quickly, he said.

“We have a plan. If we know about [a power outage], we can have a staff member help residents back into the building,” Cooper said.

No injuries or consequences, other than the card-swipe malfunction, caused by the outage were reported, Cooper said.

Although TCU e-mail is the official form of communication between the university and students, according to the university Technology Resources website, there was no e-mail alert sent out to students notifying them of the power outage.

Cooper said he did not know why the university did not send a TCU e-mail alert to the student body. Provost Nowell Donovan could not be reached for comment concerning why no alert was sent.

Cooper said the incident served as a warning to the university to take the necessary precautions in case a power outage were to happen again.

“It’s a wake-up call to make sure that we all have our systems in place [such as] “How do we plan for this?,’ “Do all the RAs have flashlights?’ All of these things,” Cooper said. “It was a good reminder that we need to refresh on this.”