Hilltop wiring replaced

Mai Hoang

The lights may be on at full power in Cherry Hall, but it may be a few years before the rest of the Hill can be blackout-proof.

Western’s high voltage contractor, D&M Electric, finished replacing high voltage wiring on campus that ran power for several buildings.

The work was completed two weeks after power went out for 12 hours in eight campus buildings.

Full power has been restored to several buildings at the top of the Hill after a power outage two weeks ago, but it’s only one part of a multi-year, multi-phase project, said John Osborne, assistant vice president of campus services and facilities.

The university is moving ahead with plans to replace all the wiring in the university’s high-voltage electrical system.

The first phase is expected to start in February.

Western is trying to get funding for the project, Osborne said. It could cost between $10 million and $14 million to complete.

Western has asked the General Assembly for $3.7 million to fund the next phase of the project, Osborne said.

The project would begin at the top of the Hill and go downward.

Both wires that went out two weeks ago were replaced, assistant facilities director Steve Barz said.

They originally planned on replacing the two wires with one wire that has a higher electrical capacity, Barz said. But they realized as they worked that it was easier to fit two higher electrical capacity wires.

The estimated cost of the work is expected to be between $25,000 to $30,000, he said.

The only thing left to do is reset the clock correction system on campus so all the clocks in those buildings can be readjusted to the correct time, Barz said.

Osborne said that power outages can happen in other parts of the building as long as they are running old wires.

President Gary Ransdell said it isn’t possible to create a new policy to deal with future outages.

“You can’t have a policy to do a certain thing if you don’t know what the implications are,” he said.

Reach Mai Hoang at [email protected]