UTC loses power, causes some classes to be canceled


Electrical Distribution electricians Moe Taylor and Steve Bible prepare to restore electricity to the UTC building. A team of electricians from different zones across campus collaborated for two days to access the problem and repair the affected component.

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

After a Wednesday thunderstorm left the University Teaching Center  University Teaching Center without power for two days, University Facilities Services has restored power to the building.

Electrical supervisor Steve Bible said the water poured over a bus duct during the rainstorm Wednesday morning, causing an explosion which resulted in the power outage. After making repairs, Facilities Services was able to restore power around 5 p.m. Thursday. Some classes were canceled Wednesday and Thursday due to lack of power. The outages affected 19 student organizations on Wednesday and 18 student organizations on Thursday who planned to meet in the building, according to a statement from Student Activities.

Bible said power fueling the building’s lights, elevators, escalators, Internet and telephone was cut short due to the outage. The temporary repairs made Thursday could last about three months before permanent replacements needed to be installed, Bible said.

“They’re going to put a shield on top of [the bus duct] to keep it from happening again,” Bible said. “It didn’t take long to figure out what caused [the outage], but it took two days to repair.”

Facilities Services spokeswoman Laurie Lentz said short-term repair work had been underway since Wednesday, but the final repair will involve installing new equipment, which facilities has ordered and will install as soon as it arrives.

“A permanent fix may involve excavating a section of the patio area,” Lentz said.

Bible said the same thing happened to the same section several years ago.

“The building’s not real watertight,” Bible said. “That hurts it.”

Biology and English honors sophomore Mallory Hood said her cellular biology class still met despite the lack of power.

“Material has to be covered,” said associate professor Clarence Chan, who taught Hood’s class in the UTC. “We didn’t want to lose a day of lecture.”

Hood said she agreed that in an upper division course like cellular biology, it is detrimental to miss a day of lecture. Because of the lack of power, Hood said her professor had to draw models on the chalkboard instead of using PowerPoint.

“We forget how much technology is now an integral part of the classroom,” Hood said.

But, Hood said the lack of technology actually allowed for more discussion time and it enhanced the learning experience.

“I’ve never been in a lecture before where there was so much interaction between the students and professor,” Hood said.

Printed on Friday, January 27 as: UTC Power outage leads to class, meeting cancellations