Three Blackouts/Three Weeks!
March 6, 2014
It’s barely three weeks into spring semester and multiple power outages have struck the main campus, affecting several facilities and many students. The outages took place, Feb.16, Feb.25, and March 4.
In all three cases, the Administration building, the Library, the cafeteria, the bookstore, San Gabriel, Sierra Madre, Verdugo Gym, Student Center, and Advanced Technology Center all lost power and were closed until the power was restored.
The closure of these facilities put a strain on students and teachers alike. Night classes were cancelled on Feb.25, when the power outage lasted approximately 9 hours. The entire campus was closed. All staff and students were ordered to evacuate all facilities by 5p.m.
The newsroom at El Vaquero in the San Gabriel building lost three computers due to a surge when the power came back on after the first outage.
The power outages were caused by a faulty insulator on the switch gear of the library building, according to Dan Padilla, manager of operations and maintenance. However, this did not stop some instructors from continuing with class.
Erick Paiva, a 21-year-old supplemental instructor for Biology 121, taught the class on the stairs next to the SG building, on Tuesday from 12:30-1:30p.m.
“I continued with class because we are determined to learn physiology and whoever stays, I will instruct,” Paiva said.
He taught his class outside on Feb.25 and March 4. Paiva was explaining the process of mitosis from a hand-held whiteboard, while students took notes on the stairs.
According to Russell Beckett, public services manager for the library, some students don’t have their textbooks yet. This causes stress with some students who rely on using the reserved textbooks in the library.
Since the library was closed on Feb.25 and March 4, students like Joceline Lugo, worried about where they could go to study.
“Some people have no other outlets to study and do homework,” said Lugo. “I guess I have to start looking for a new library.”
The power outages all struck around noon during the lunch rush. All lights were out and registers were not working in the cafeteria, making it impossible for the staff to maintain business as usual.. Students were not allowed to use credit cards and they were only taking exact change.
“This was a problem for our sales,” said Nancy Jordan, food services manager. “We lost about $1,500 in business.”
Food spoilage was not an issue because the cafeteria has equipment that allows food to be kept at the required temperature for up to eight hours.
Nelson Oliveria, director of facilities confirmed that the problem was an improper arrestor.
“What should be installed are 6kv arrestors and what we found installed were 3kv arrestors”