Power outage in residence halls displaces students

Adam Garret and Travis Kugler, both of Bowling Green, guide a truck as they install a generator in front of Southwest Hall. A busted water main in Northeast Hall caused a short that knocked out power in Bates-Runner, Northeast and Southwest Halls. (Ian Maule/HERALD)

Trey Crumbie

Some students who returned to their residence halls early were forced to leave after their arrival.

On Thursday at about 10 p.m., a water main broke in the mechanical room of Northeast Hall. The burst pipe caused a flood, which damaged various electrical equipment that caused Northeast, Southwest and Bates-Runner residence halls to lose power.

Those living in the affected dorms had the opportunities to gather essentials and were then relocated to vacant rooms in other residence halls on campus. Some students chose to stay off campus or go back home.

La Grange Junior Tyler Scaff was one of those students and said an ‘inconvenience’ was a mild way to describe the situation.

“We were essentially evicted from the dorm which we paid quite a bit of money to live in,” Scaff said.

During the outage, Housing and Residence Life encouraged students who lived in the powerless dorms that had not returned to stay at home until Sunday via social media. 

Brian Kuster, director of Housing and Residence Life, said the equipment that was damaged is not easily replaceable.

“They’re just not something you get locally,” Kuster said.

Power was restored to Southwest and Bates-Runner Halls Friday evening via generator.  The transformer used to restore power to the dorms came from Cincinnati and was delivered on Friday. Kuster said there were workers in Northeast all day Saturday to ensure that power would be restored in a timely manner.  All three dorms were back on permanent power by Sunday afternoon.

Kuster said because the pipe burst at a sudden time, it was hard to prevent it from happening.

“Consider it an act of God,” Kuster said.

Scaff said it was a fortunate circumstance that the power outage happened before classes started.

“Because this happens in the middle of the semester, imagine the issues that would potentially be caused if they just ran out of all places to house all the people,” said Sceff 

Kuster said if this were to happen during the semester, students would be placed somewhere on campus again before other alternatives, such as renting out hotel rooms, would be explored.

Kuster said although the transformer has been replaced, it is an outdoor transformer that will be replaced this summer.

“Though everybody is on permanent power, this still is just a temporary fix,” Kuster said. “If we would had of waited to find exactly what could have fit inside the building, we would probably have to had that manufactured. That’s not something anybody would have sitting around.”