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Power outage leaves students in the dark

Published: Monday, February 4, 2013

Updated: Monday, February 4, 2013 01:02


 

Electricity went out for the Super Dome for less than an hour, but many students on campus were left in the dark for most of the day on Super Bowl Sunday.

As  football went on in New Orleans, students in the Juniper and Poplar residence halls went without electricity for approximately 10 hours. Though backup generators were able to provide power for elevators and some lighting, students in the residence halls were without power from the early afternoon until 10:30 p.m.

Poplar resident Anna Kallschmidt, a freshman majoring in pre-exercise science, said the outage was a “major inconvenience” for her and her friends.

“We were going to watch the Super Bowl together,” Kallschmidt said. “The building was supposed to have a watch party, but now we can’t see the game.”

Bailey Moss, a freshman majoring in nursing, said she and her friends were planning to watch the game in the building, but could no longer because of the power.

“A lot of people already left the residence hall,” Moss said. “Many went to Beef ‘O’ Brady’s in the Marshall (Student) Center or off campus to watch the game.”

The cause of the power outage was unknown at the time of print, and the Department of Housing and Residential Education, USF Physical Plant, and TECO Energy could not be reached for comment. The Residence Life Coordinator on duty declined to comment.

Josh Mallory, a senior majoring in criminology who was working at the 24/7 reception desk in the Juniper-Poplar lobby Sunday evening, said though he didn’t know the cause of the outage, officers from Allied Barton and University Police were assisting the desk in handling the situation.

“We’ve been figuring it out piece by piece,” Mallory said. “The university should have better information Monday during normal business hours.”

Mallory said the desk’s supervisor and other residence hall employees were not able to be reached over the weekend, and the outage caused confusion throughout the day.

“This is the only building on campus that has the power out,” Mallory said. “It’s a newer building, so it’s on a different power grid then the rest of campus. From what we’ve heard, TECO is working on the problem, which has happened elsewhere too.”

TECO Energy’s power outage map on the TECO Energy website only reported one power outage at the campus address, and 70 more nearby Sunday afternoon. Students also reported a power outage at On50 apartments just off-campus, which was resolved in the early afternoon.

“Initially, we heard the power was supposed to be restored by 8 p.m. or 8:30 p.m.,” Mallory said.

Throughout the day, Resident Assistants stood in front of the building’s swipe-access security doors checking student ID’s and an Allied Barton security guard stood in the lobby for additional safety.

Residents in the building, such as Eamonn Lonergan, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, said the power outage caused problems including the lack of air conditioning and heated water for the showers, the inability to do homework on computers or study in the dark and refrigerators and freezers containing warm food and leaking melted ice.

“Every building around us had power,” Lonergan said. “I guarantee that the university won’t reimburse me for the groceries in my fridge.”

Mallory said the most common complaint to the reception desk was about food spoiling in refrigerators.

“Parents have been calling all day, asking about their children’s food,” Mallory said. “I don’t know if any spoiled food will be compensated for, but I told parents if they are still concerned, they can call back Monday when we have everything figured out.”

Despite the power outage for the residence halls, Juniper Dining Hall, the POD Market and Starbucks in the building were not affected, but closed at 7 p.m.

As the electricity came back on in the building late in the evening, students were able to catch the last few minutes of the Super Bowl. 

Kallschmidt said there was at least one benefit to the power outage.

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