Physical Plant Assistant Director Amy Graybill didn’t plan to spend her entire Wednesday night awake.

But when things happen on Regis University’s campus, Graybill said everyone comes together to find solutions. The power went out on April 24, but returned, so Graybill didn’t worry. When the Regis campus lost power several hours later, she knew it could be a long night.

Thanks to a combined effort from several Regis University departments, the power outage that delayed the University’s opening on April 25 was mitigated, Graybill said.

“This was a concerted team response effort by Campus Safety, our custodial staff and our Physical Plant staff,” she said. “I just happened to answer the ‘call’ as I have been trained and made the correct decisions to respond as quickly as possible.” 

The outage began at about 8:30 p.m. on April 24, when the first power outage affected Regis and the surrounding neighborhood.

Physical Plant staff reset elevators, HVAC systems and science lab operations that had gone offline. Power returned, but at around 11:30 p.m. another power outage struck. This one, however, was different. The University operates on three phases of power; this night only two legs were operational. The motors in some buildings were heating up and burning internally, as some facilities still had power.

An emergency call came in about a flood in the basement of the Student Center. Custodial staff members Taylor Osorio and Connor Thornton already had begun extracting the water and making sure it didn’t reach other parts of the building.

Physical Plant’s Nick Verhey, a senior lead utility worker, and electrician Lance Hogan were called in during the wee hours of the night to help. They walked every building to assess the situation before Xcel responded at 3 a.m. By that time, Campus Safety Director Lance Jones had made the decision to delay the opening of campus until noon the next day.

Why did the second outage occur? A 6,500-volt fuse failed when the power returned after the first outage, darkening much — but not all — of campus.  Xcel’s line workers replaced three burnt fuses in the main transformer cabinets, restoring power at 4:30 a.m.

Buildings were inspected and returned to somewhat normal operations by the opening of the University.

“This return to operations wouldn’t be possible without the collaborative efforts of many people pulling together overnight,” Graybill said. “We are called upon to respond, manage and return the University back to a functioning operation when these types of event emergencies occur. I believe this was achieved not only with the responders but with the follow-up support of all Physical Plant, custodial services and Campus Safety personnel.”