Part of campus goes dark

The campus of Grambling State University experienced technical difficulties last week as several buildings were without power for three days. The problem occurred when a damaged high voltage underground cable malfunctioned. Students were left not knowing what happened to the electricity on Oct. 4. “I live in 800 A. It caused me a lot of distress,” said Marcus Buckley, a marketing major from Pomona, Calif. “Grambling needed a back-up energy source.”

According to Daarel Burnette, vice president for Finance and Administration, “There was an infrastructure problem within the coupling that serves as the main power source for the university.”

The extensive rain last week caused moisture to get inside the wires. This caused the electrical power lines to burn, which created a short in some fuses. On-site electricians located the base where the initial power loss occurred. However, to their astonishment, the wire harness was burned more than they expected. An outside high voltage company was then called in to get the issue resolved. The replacement coupling and wiring harness couldn’t be located anywhere in the state, due in large part to the old age of the electrical setup, Burnette said.
The longer the power was out, the more problems were experienced by students.

“All my food [was] spoiled, and without necessities it was difficult in Attucks,” said Alex Williams, an electrical engineering technology major from Dallas.

After an extended hunt to find the needed parts, the company finally located everything they needed in Little Rock, Ark. By then, the store was closed. Repairs had to wait until the following morning, when the needed parts could be purchased. The company returned to campus on Oct. 6 at 2 p.m.

About 168 unoccupied rooms around campus with power served as a makeshift dwelling for students who were affected, Burnette said. The remaining students who were unable to be housed on campus were transported to a hotel in Ruston.

The Information Technology Center e-mailed a memo to students, faculty and staff with an update on the status of the problem. As of 6:05 a.m. Wednesday morning, power to various dorms and administration buildings was restored. But cable television, phone, and Internet services were still unavailable. These services were restored on Thursday.

The University Emergency Alert System released a message informing everyone that as of 8 a.m. classes were going to resume for those who had been directly affected. Everything returned to normal and classes went as scheduled.