COLUMBIA, SC — The University of South Carolina cancelled classes Friday and told many faculty and staff members to not come to work after an early-morning power outage darkened the central core of the Columbia campus.
Power began being restored around 11 a.m. and continued throughout the day until it was all back by the afternoon, said USC spokesman Wes Hickman.
The extended, widespread outage was weather-related, but details were not immediately available and staff was working on a more detailed report, he said.
The outage affected about 6,300 students in 240 classes, and the majority of employees at the Columbia campus either did not go to work or had a change in schedule or location, Hickman said.
Dorms where summer students are living were not affected by the power outage, he said.
But the Russell House student union and Thomas Cooper Library were closed.
The university’s food truck, The Coop, was parked on Greene Street in front of the Russell House to provide food for students.
About a dozen people had gotten food in the few hours the food truck had been there by Friday afternoon, said Lottie Jeffcoat, a head cook for the Russell House.
Donald Boyd, who works with stock in the Russell House said the majority of the food that had been kept in the cooler had to be thrown away, including cheese, eggs, butter and some prepared food, such as macaroni and cheese.
He said the food kept in the freezer was still frozen and fine.
Patterson Hall, a residence hall that is home to offices for the university’s housing department, was running on a generator, said Joe Fortune, who works in housing .
Summer tour groups still visited the residence hall, but Fortune said they were cautious about not putting people on elevators.
Katie Webber, one of the school’s tour guides, said when the guides arrived Friday everything was pitch black.
But guides were instructed to give prospective students the best visit possible.
“We kind of just went to Plan B,” Webber said.
They set up the check-in for the groups in front of the visitor center and then gave what Webber called mystery tours because the guides did not know which buildings they were showing would have power.
Anne Bilinski, a rising high school senior, went on one of the morning tours.
“We were impressed with how they improvised,” said Anne’s mother, Kathleen Bilinski.
The Cooper Library had a handwritten sign in the window saying it would be closed for the day because of the power outage.
Esmael Alyami has two exams coming up on Monday and needed to print a paper on Friday at the library to study.
He said his professor for one of the classes with a Monday exam told the students to show up so they could review, even though classes were cancelled. The class met outside in front of the library for a few minutes, Alyami said.