Campus wide power outage strikes

Twelve days after a campus-wide power outage shut down all activity at Citrus College, the campus is still evaluating its impact.

The Friday morning blackout forced the cancellation of classes, other scheduled events and disrupted the Wi-Fi across campus.

Students were notified by 8:26 a.m. through emergency alert messages sent by text, email and voicemail, informing them that day and evening classes were cancelled.

Citrus faculty and staff who had arrived for work, were first told that the campus would remain open. However, at approximately 9:30 a.m. Citrus employees were notified that the campus was officially closed for the day.

Wi-Fi had been down in various areas around campus. Leigh Buchwald, network computer system supervisor, said that the connection issues are attributed to the power outage.

“Wi-Fi was down for about a week after the blackout,” he said. “When the power went out, its configuration was corrupted.”

Buchwald said the Wi-Fi connection was back up by last Thursday.

As for the telephone and computer systems they, along with the rest of the power, were fixed by the next day.

The power failure forced the cancellation of Friday’s opening performance of “Fiddler on the Roof” scheduled at the Haugh Performing Arts Center.

John Vaughan, interim director of the HPAC, said that patrons were notified about Friday’s cancellation and were offered replacement tickets for either Saturday evening or the Sunday matinee. Those who were unable to adjust their schedules could request a refund.

“It was a shame that the students didn’t get to do another show, but they were all really understanding, and things like this happen,” Vaughan said. “You roll with it and go on.”

Third year Citrus Singer, Gayle Jett, 27, one of the performers in “Fiddler on the Roof” agreed. “Of course, like many of the other cast members, I was disappointed to hear about the cancellation,” said Jett.  “But the performers were not the only ones affected.”

“It affected everyone involved: the performers, production crew, tech crew, sound and lighting crew, and cosmetology. We all worked very hard on the show prior to opening and were very excited to show off our hard work,” Jett said.


Because of the campus wide power outage, the Glendora High School homecoming game was moved to Charter Oak High School. (Christian Rodriguez/Citrus College Clarion)

The homecoming game between Glendora and Etiwanda high schools that was supposed to take place in the Citrus Stadium was relocated to Charter Oak High School.

“We found out at 10 a.m. and immediately started thinking of schools with no home games that night,” said Rod Tilton, dean/athletic director of the Glendora High School Tartan Football team.

“Charter Oak was actually our first call because we knew they had their homecoming game the night before, so it worked out pretty well.”

Tilton praised Kathleen Wiard, the principal of Charter Oak High School, for allowing the game to be relocated to their stadium as well as waiving the fee to use the field.

Charter Oak allowed the snack bar to open and their custodian stayed on site for the duration of the game.

Fred Diamond, Citrus College director of facilities, said the outage resulted when the main circuit breaker failed.

“The main circuit breaker protects the campus from damage caused by an overload or short circuit . . . some of the electrical relays that had been present for a long time malfunctioned and needed to be replaced,” he said.

Citrus College officials contacted Hampton Tedder, a company of electrical technicians who specialize in high voltage problems, to repair the circuit.

The call went out to the company at around 5:45 a.m. Within an hour and a half, Hampton Tedder had redirected four of its electricians who were originally heading to Long Beach, to the Citrus campus instead.

Diamond said when such an emergency takes place, it allows for other precautionary measures to be taken.

“Because of what happened, we were able to isolate another problem that occurred at the Campus Center with the automatic transfer switch, which takes the power from utility power over to generator power,” he said.

Had this not been detected, the generator would not have provided temporary electrical power if the utility source were to fail.

Diamond said the blackout wasn’t preventable and that it was simply an equipment failure and was one of those things that just happens by chance.

Carol Horton, vice president of facilities, said she has not yet seen the bill for the repairs. But, the total cost will be covered by the Citrus College general fund.


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