12 buildings to see blackouts over break

Mallory Kutnick, Campus Reporter

Twelve school buildings will see electrical outages over the course of five days during spring break. The

Human Services Building, the Tarble Arts Center and Lawson, Thomas, Taylor, Klehm, Coleman and Lumpkin Hall will have limited or no electricity from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.

All of the residence halls and Greek Court will close Friday at 8 p.m. and will reopen Sunday, March 19 at 1 p.m.

The Life Science Building and Annex, Buzzard Hall, the Doudna Fine Arts Building and the Thut Greenhouse will lose most, if not all, power from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.

The outages will also affect Thomas and Taylor Halls’ dining centers and chillers.

Electrical foreman Chris Bartlett said the purpose of the outages is to test circuit breakers over the course of the week. He said he and his team of six electricians will turn off the switches for the first time in three years.

Bartlett’s team cleans and tests the circuits annually during spring break. They divide the affected buildings into three groups and test one group a year, meaning the buildings impacted this year will not be tested again until the 2020 spring break.

“You don’t want to let the equipment sit idle for too long before you look at it again,” Bartlett said.

The three-year rotation period allows Bartlett and his electrician team to inspect every major building on campus, all but the smaller buildings such as the Booth House or the Linder House.

“We try to take it one circuit at a time,” Bartlett said.

Each building used to be inspected once every two years instead of three, but budget cuts forced Bartlett’s team to extend the time it takes to inspect each circuit. Instead of looking at three or four buildings in one day, they must now look at the same amount over the course of two days, owing to a limited number of people on the team.

Bartlett once employed 11 electricians, but because of the state budget impasse, he had to lay off nearly half of them and must now make do with only six.

Bartlett said the outages should not impact electrical devices should students decide to leave them plugged in over the break.

“It would be no different than having a storm blow through,” Bartlett said.


Mallory Kutnick can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]