Updated on Jan. 25, 2022 at 1:50 p.m. to reflect new information. Updated on Jan. 25, 2022 at 3:41 to reflect new COVID-19 numbers for students isolating on campus.
By Cady Inabinett
University officials announced on Friday afternoon that Napier residence hall would be closed for emergency maintenance for the weekend.
According to Coty Jones, Director of the Physical Plant, the issue was first discovered around 2 p.m. on Friday.
Soon after, residents of Napier were told to leave the building as soon as possible. There was no given timeline for when residents could return in the announcement. Residents of the hall were told to contact their Residence Hall Director if they needed to stay with a male friend in another hall.
Several residents of Napier confirmed that this was prompted by a power outage. Others confirmed that power was out in Davis Hall and the Center of the Arts building, as well.
All three of these buildings have previously lost power in Aug. 2020, along with Wallace, Calkins, Reynolds and Peterson. This was caused by a faulty underground high voltage electrical transmission line.
Jones explained that the outage this time was caused by an underground power distribution issue.
“Power has been restored temporarily and we are working on a complete repair or replacement that will be scheduled,” said Jones.
Students were soon allowed to return over the weekend.
On Tuesday, January 25 around 8:30 a.m., UM sent out a UM alert notifying students that starting at 10 a.m., the center for Arts, Napier Calkins, Davis, Reynolds, Wallace and Peterson Halls would be without power from at least Jan. 25 to 26, and possibly until Jan. 27.
An email sent from the president’s office later Tuesday said the issue was caused by 50 year old distribution cable failing.
A total of 112 students living in Napier have been displaced and 61 faculty and staff’s ability to work have been affected. According to Savannah Crenshaw, the residence life coordinator, out of the 112 residents in Napier, 31 have been placed in other resident halls. Residents in both Ramsay and Tutwiler Hall have confirmed that students have been moved into the sections in those buildings reserved for students isolating from COVID-19.
According to the University website, as of Jan. 25 there were 3 student cases isolating on campus. It is currently unknown if those students are still in isolation in either Tutwiler or Ramsay hall.
Students from Napier will be reimbursed two weeks of housing costs.
The repairs currently underway appear to be just the beginning, since the president’s office said “The UM Physical Plant will embark on the first round of additional updates needed to the power grid beginning this summer.”
*This is an ongoing story and will be updated as new information becomes available.
Cady Inabinett is the editor in chief of The Alabamian. She’s majoring in English and double-minoring in political science and peace and justice studies. She enjoys reading, watching movies, caring for houseplants and generally just being pretentious in her free time.