Eight-hour East Bank

Brian Close

More than 15 buildings on the University’s East Bank lost power Saturday afternoon at 2:32 p.m. Power was restored building by building over the next eight hours, Facilities Management officials said.
Northern States Power officials said the problem occurred within the University’s power system, and caused a substation to shut down.
“There were tons of complaints,” said architecture graduate student Libby Parrish, who was in the Architecture building computer lab when the power went out. “Everybody was concerned because assignments are due (Monday).”
Adding to the confusion, a fire alarm sounded in Amundson Hall at about 2:50 p.m., drawing three Minneapolis Fire Department trucks.
University Police officer Erik Swanson said fire alarms often follow power outages.
“When we have the power out, we assume we are going to have an alarm from somewhere,” he said. “But you always play like it’s the real thing.”
However, John Huonder, a building systems and automation center operator, said fire alarms should not sound when power goes out, because fire alarm panels have backup power.
“When the power goes down, it won’t trip horns,” he said. “That’ll never happen.”
He added that most buildings on campus have backup generators that will restore power after a short interval.
Some of the other buildings that lost power include the University Recreation Center, Williams Arena, Cooke Hall, Weisman Art Museum, Donhowe Building, Shepard Laboratories, Lind Hall, Smith Hall, and the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building.
The EE/CSci building continued to have problems with their main server Sunday afternoon, said Luan Nguyen, a systems staff operator.
“After the power outage, because we could not shut the servers down properly, some problems were raised,” he said. “There are many of us working to fix the problems now.”