Leah Forbus
Staff Writer

An unanticipated power outage in Andy Holt Apartment Residence Hall created mayhem Monday evening. The outage began around 9:30 a.m. when Andy Holt, T-RECS, Facilities Services, Volunteer Boulevard parking garage and the Student Aquatic Center started losing power. The students in class were unaffected at that time, but those still their rooms were affected immediately.
“When I left (Monday) morning, only one elevator was working, and some of the power was out, but when I finished class that afternoon, everything was off,” said Krista Graves, an undecided sophomore.
Graves said it seemed like a gradual process, as far as she could tell, and there was no certainty as to when the problem would be fixed.
“They said it could be two hours or even two days,” Graves said.
But the university performed quick damage control. Because of the cold weather and the uncertainty of how long it would take to get the power running again, officials decided to close the residence hall and offer Thompson-Boling Arena as an alternative for shelter that night. They wanted students to have a warm place to sleep, and with the fire alarms disabled, leaving Andy Holt open was not worth the risk. Students were asked to retrieve some clothes, along with any other items they might need for the day, and evacuate the building.
The residence hall closed at 6:30 p.m., with UT Police on 24-hour security duty. Any students accepting the offer to sleep at Thompson-Boling Arena were offered transportation from Andy Holt to the Arena between the hours of 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. The University retrieved about 200 mattresses, anticipating that some students would show up, but not expecting to need them all.
Many students preferred the idea of invading their friends’ apartments rather than sleeping on mattresses, but about 75 of the 1,000 students who reside in Andy Holt took advantage of the shelter arranged for them. Men and women were placed in two separate areas and provided shower facilities. UT also supplied a pizza dinner Monday night and a continental breakfast Tuesday morning.
Facilities Services personnel scoured Andy Holt for possible explanations of the power outage and are working to fix the problem. Humes Residence Hall took a bit of the burden last night shortly after 2 a.m.
“I was studying and waiting for my laundry to finish when an electrician came into the laundry room and told me they’d be turning off the power for a little while to see if they could figure out what was happening with Andy Holt,” said Lindsey Whiteley, freshman in biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology. After nabbing her clothes, Whiteley headed back up to her room before the lights went out.
An official UT e-mail to all students said the outage may have been due to a circuit cabling problem, which is now being repaired. Affected Andy Holt residents were given $20 to their Dining Dollars accounts. Students were asked to retrieve their belongings from Thompson-Boling Arena by 9 p.m. Tuesday night.