Chadron State College will experience an outage of a large portion of its cooling system and Internet access this weekend, but officials say the result will safeguard the campus against similar disruptions in the future.
Workers are in the process of completing installation of two back-up electricity generators which will provide power for critical campus functions during outages. The generators, which are located at Miller Hall and the Eugene Sheaman Heating and Cooling Plant, are among five units that are being installed on campus this summer.
Dale Grant, CSC vice president for administration and finance, said the workers must temporarily detach the buildings from the electrical grid to install switches, which will allow each unit to provide electricity for its specific building during power failures instead of feeding power the entire campus.
“It’s unfortunate that we’ll have a disruption of services, but it’s necessary,” he said. “Thankfully, it will be done before the fall semester starts.”
Both the Sheaman Plant, which uses bio-fuel to provide heat and cooling for nine buildings on campus, and Miller Hall, which houses CSC’s data center, are scheduled to be powered down for the weekend. Miller Hall will be without electricity Friday, Aug. 3, at 4:30 p.m. until sometime late Sunday. The heating and cooling plant also will shut down Friday afternoon and is expected to resume operation Monday.
Ann Burk, chief information officer for the CSC Department of Information Technology, said the shutdown will affect the CSC core network, disrupting campus access to the Internet. All campus servers providing access to email, telephones, printers and the CSC website content will be shut down.
All CSC Internet features will not be disabled, however. Burk said people who visit the CSC website from off campus will be greeted with links to a number of vital services, such as the Sakai online learning platform, the MyCSC student portal, the Eaglemail student email service, and the FireFly employee services portal. The website for athletics, chadroneagles.com, also will stay live.
In addition to the units at the Sheaman Plant and Miller Hall, workers this summer are installing two generators at the Student Center and one unit at the Nelson Physical Activity Center.
Grant said the buildings were carefully selected.
“If we get in a situation which we lose all power, especially in the winter, the unit at the heating plant will allow us to keep generating steam. The NPAC gives us an area to put a lot of people if there’s a power outage in bad weather. Power at the Student Center will allow us to feed people. And, Miller Hall, of course, is the hub of our campus network,” he said.
The units were purchased with about $660,000 from the State of Nebraska’s Task Force for Building Renewal. The Task Force, which operates under the provisions of legislative bill 309, appropriates funds for deferred repair, safety, Americans with Disabilities Act upgrades and energy conservation.
Snell Services, based in North Platte, is installing the units.
—Justin Haag, CSC Information Services
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