President Donald Christian decided to remind the college of emergency Ibs, Sensitive Tummy Digestive Relief For Irritable Bowel preparedness policies after an accident on Route 32 South closed the road and caused a campus-wide power outage on Monday, Nov. 7, leaving parts of the New Paltz community without power into Tuesday.
The outage was caused by a construction truck containing a backhoe, – a digging machine used in construction, – which hit a major electrical switch around 6 p.m., said John Shupe, assistant vice president of Facilities Management. No injuries were reported.
“The truck’s back-hoe hit the guide wire that supported a utility pole across the street from Hopfer House,” Shupe said. “This caused the pole to break and it severed the power line.”
As a result, all campus buildings lost power except the Athletic and Wellness Center. The severity of the incident forced administrative officials to cancel all Monday evening classes.
Central Hudson gave faculty, staff and students an estimated time of six to eight hours until power was restored. Regardless, most buildings on campus have emergency back-up generators which kept lights and heat running. The New Paltz maintenance staff handled the issue efficiently, according to Shupe.
“We had employees on campus at the time power went out so there was no delay in assessing the situation and beginning the process of restoring back-up power,” Shupe said. “The issue was with Central Hudson’s power lines and their personnel were here within 30 minutes of the incident.”
Students were warned about the current situation via the NP Alert system which is an emergency service provided to New Paltz students residing on and off campus, notifying them of class cancelations, inclement weather and safety problems.
Christina Mazzarella, a third-year student living off campus at a complex across the street from the college on Route 32, lost power in her apartment that night.
“I freaked because I saw the lights turn blue and things began to buzz in the apartment,” she said. “I then proceeded to call my friend who lives on campus, hoping he had power, but there was no power on campus either.”
If something like this should ever happen again, generators would supply power, according to Shupe.
“The back-up generators run on natural gas supplied by Central Hudson. They should run for as long as it takes to restore power to the campus,” Shupe said.
Power was restored to all buildings but the Hopfer House by 8:30 p.m. Christian addressed the incident in his November faculty report.