AMCEL setup causes power outage
An unexpected blackout on campus Monday forced professors to cancel classes or move them outside.
Smith Hall, Moulton Hall, Oliphant Hall, Bertea Hall, Memorial Hall, Argyros Forum, Leatherby Libraries and the Lastinger Parking Structure lost power around 9 a.m. after an electrical loop was damaged by a misguided ground-stake.
“I had a math midterm in AF at 9 a.m. It was dark and the door was closed so we couldn’t get upstairs,” said junior health sciences major Amber Ruck. “We didn’t have time to go somewhere else so now the test has been pushed back.”
Classic Party Rentals, the company setting up for American Celebration (AMCEL), was responsible for the power outage, said Mary Platt, director of communications and media relations.
A stake was driven into the underground electrical distribution system in Memorial Lawn. The stake pierced a conduit and hit one of the wires that supports the campus electrical system, Rick Turner, director of Facilities Management, wrote in an email.
Randy Burba, chief of Public Safety, wrote in an email that he received calls about the outage around 9 a.m. However, an email wasn’t sent out to the Chapman community about the outage until an hour and a half later.
“It takes time to determine causes, solutions, and useful information to put out,” Burba wrote.
Leatherby Libraries and parts of Argyros Forum were without power until the afternoon. Beckman Hall was on a different electrical loop than the rest of campus and remained unaffected, Platt said.
Jordana Lilly, a freshman theatre major, sat on the steps of Leatherby Libraries during her afternoon theatre class.
“We looked like kindergarteners raising our hands as tour groups passed by,” Lilly said.
Senior psychology major Mariah Schwan was working in the Agora Gift Shop in Argyros Forum during the outage.
She said the gift shop could only accept cash for half of the day because the computers weren’t working.
Other students were concerned about the risks the power outage caused.
“When I went to park, the parking garage was completely dark. That freaked me out,” said freshman biology major Emily Frisch.