Residence Hall Director Oliver Smith looks out from Napier Hall, Friday, Aug. 28, 2020
(Photo by Zoe Hall)

Late in the morning on Friday, Aug. 28, a power outage occurred that took out power to several buildings on campus, including Napier Hall.  

“The cause was an old faulty splice on an existing underground high voltage electrical transmission line,” said Coty Jones, the director of the physical plant. 

The result of this faulty splice was the shutting down of Napier hall.  

“Original message concerning issues with the power were received at the Housing office at 10:45 a.m. and a message was sent to the Napier RHD and RAs.  Around 11:15 am we found out the problem was a more serious issue than expected and would need to turn the power off to Napier Hall until repaired and could take a couple of days,” said John Denson, the director of housing.  

“Plan was to turn off the power at 2 pm, so residents could be notified before the power was turned off.  Around 11:30 am the decision was made to go ahead and turn off the power to make sure no damage was caused to the buildings,” explained Denson.  

The RA’s for Napier messaged all of the residents to let them know the situation. All residents were required to leave the hall by 5 p.m. Most of the residents returned home for the weekend. 

“Residents who are not able to leave campus will stay in open rooms in Ramsay Hall for the weekend,” said Denson. 

Justin MacMahon, a sophomore elementary education major, said that he noticed the power was out when he went to class, but assumed it would be back on by the time he got back.  

“All the sudden I’ve nowhere to go and nowhere to stay. Went to housing and had a talk with them; they said they would call me later on to sort out a room for me. Few hours later I get a call and they say where I’m booked … I’ll just say things were very scary for a while, but everyone from the RA’s to H&RL made it a lot easier,” said MacMahon.  

For Derrick Thomas, a sophomore art major, the closing was both upsetting and inconvenient.  

“I’m upset that I have to leave campus within the first week for something as small as a power outage. It’s an inconvenience to have to travel two hours home just to come right back, especially since I have assignments to complete and COVID is on the rise. I hope that this will be handled better next time,” said Thomas.  

The newly opened Center for the Arts is one of the seven buildings left without power, Friday, Aug. 28, 2020.
(Photo by Anna Grace Askelson)

Residents for Napier received an email later in the evening on Aug. 28, informing them that power had been restored and the hall was scheduled to reopen at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29. 

The reason that there was space in Ramsay for the residents from Napier is that several rooms on both floors are reserved for residents needing to quarantine, but there is currently only one resident occupying those rooms.  

The section that Napier residents will be staying in is separated by a door from the area occupied by the quarantined student and uses a separate stairwell. 

Denson also explained that the Ramsay rooms will be cleaned once students have left them.  

Wallace, Calkins, Reynolds, Davis, Peterson and the new Center for the Arts were also affected by the power outage. 

The repair was carried out by the UM electrical department. 

*This is an ongoing story and will be updated as new information becomes available. 

Updated Aug. 29 at 1:24 p.m. to add information about Napier reopening. Updated Aug. 30 at 5:05 p.m. to add information from Coty Jones director of the physical plant.