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GCC restores power Wednesday night after daylong closure

The Glendale College campus was closed due to an electrical outage at the main campus in Glendale on Wednesday, December 5, 2012.
(Raul Roa/Staff photographer)

Glendale Community College went dark again on Wednesday during the second major power outage to shut the campus down since last week.

At about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, the campus lost power due to an equipment malfunction on Mountain Street below the tennis courts, prompting officials to close the campus Wednesday. If the problem wasn’t fixed overnight, the closure could extend into Thursday, at least partially.

A campus-wide alert system sent text messages to notify students that classes had been canceled, but some, such as Leah Lyons, 20, of Burbank, showed up Wednesday morning unaware of the outage and disappointed.

Lyons had stayed up late the night before prepping for an anthropology exam.


“I studied all last night,” she said. “I wanted to get the test over with.”

With a head lamp hanging around his neck Wednesday morning, Interim Supt. Jim Riggs was momentarily content with the sunlight pouring into his office.

The power outage, he said, came after crew members replaced parts connected to a transformer last Friday.

Electricians were isolating the problem by separating the campus into thirds and performing tests, and by nightfall, officials hoped to regain the college’s website and phone system with a power generator.


“We’re optimistic that we’re making progress to get into what the problem is,” he said.

The outage comes months short of when the college had planned to purchase a major back-up generator with Measure G funds.

Riggs is no stranger to major power outages, having spent 10 years as president of Columbia College in the Sierra Nevada.

“They’re never easy to deal with,” Riggs said. “Of course, this is a much, much bigger infrastructure — we have 22,000 students.”

He continued to work throughout the day with a skeleton staff made up mostly of administrators and campus police who turned students and faculty away at every major entry point.

One of them was Somi Park, a 21-year-old student who arrived from La Crescenta for her English and physical education class.

But for the second time since last week, the outage would delay Park in completing six more required physical education hours by next week.

“We’re living in the 21st century. That doesn’t make any sense,” Park said. “I can’t finish because the whole school is shut down.”


Another studentbecame frustrated when a campus police officer told him and about 20 others the news after they had been dropped off by bus.

“I’m mad. I woke up for nothing,” he said. “I could have stayed home.”

With about a week left until final exams, Riggs said faculty members would work to get everyone through the semester despite losing instructional days.

“We do empathize with the students and the faculty and we know our faculty will work with the students to come up with whatever alternatives are necessary,” he said.


Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.