University, Webster Groves, experience power outage



JOSHUA MAASSEN / The Journal Back up emergency lights guided students through the May Gallery inside the Sverdrup building when the power suddenly went out at the university and other areas of Webster Groves, Feb. 21. Ameren Missouri restored power on campus approximately an hour later.

(Webster Groves, Feb. 24, 2011) Around 12:45 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 21, the power went out in parts of Webster Groves and Shrewsbury. Ameren told The Journal that a main feeder was out due to a downed pole. Power on campus and area businesses came back at 1:15 p.m.

Many students in Emerson Library lost the work on their computers. Kerry Robinson and Gregory Anderson had been working in the library for more than an hour on budgets from the ADS program from last semester.

“I’m curious, if the power goes back on, will my work still be there or am I going to lose it,” Anderson said. “Do I gotta do all that again? That’s going to kill me.”

Library staff told patrons power was to come back on around 3:00 p.m. Once the power returned, the staff urged students in person and via Facebook to save their work to an external drive often, in case of future outages.

Though the upper-level library staff were largely unaffected, Greg Kettinger at the circulation desk said everything was affected.

“We can’t check out books and our phones just went dead. This pretty much just shut us down for now,” Kettinger said. “We’re continuing our day as best we can.”

Between the windows and the emergency lights, students were able to see in the library.

“Lights are on in the john,” Robinson said.

When the computers were turned back on, Anderson’s work wasn’t there.

“It’s a shame, they pay all this money and have no auto save,” Anderson said.

Webster Hall was a lot darker than the library or the UC. Students and staff in the Learning Center were circled around the door, telling ghost stories and eating bagels. The staff in the registrar’s office had an emergency light, but the hallway leading to their office was pitch black. The staircases were dark, and Public Safety was called to help people out of the stuck elevator.

In the University Center, Sodexo employees stopped serving food after about 10 minutes. Many students remained at their places, finishing their lunches. Maria Enger, a junior animation major and student services employee, said they didn’t have much to do without the power.

“It’s kind of nice, we get to chill now. The admissions event is more of a concern,” Enger said.

Admission Events Coordinator Patti Baygents said the admissions event, an open house for seniors, was unaffected by the outage. People weren’t phased at all, she said.   Financial Aid counselor Kim Whitehorn, who was working in the Sunnen Lounge, also said everything was still running smoothly.

“With this event, we don’t even have to have computers,” Whitehorn said. “They’re just asking general questions.”
Businesses in Old Orchard were left without power, too. John Stoltz, the store manager of Starbucks, started to shut down the store and gave everyone free coffee. At Weber’s grill, they stopped cooking but the taps were still on.

“Come to Weber’s and have a beer” said manager on duty Blaire Schriefer.

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