Failed transformer leaves psychology building empty until late November


Katherine Camarata, Staff Reporter

The transformer in the basement of the psychology building had an unexpected failure before the beginning of fall quarter, leaving the building without electrical service and students without a classroom.

“There are some parking lights that are fed off of some of those feeds that we just wanted to make sure were still lit for safety of the students, faculty and staff on campus,” Director of Capital Planning and Projects Delano Palmer said. 

Emergency power is being used to keep these lights in action, according to Palmer.

Palmer said the Capital and Facility Management team is “working on doing an emergent remediation of that project, which required us utilizing what’s called our minor works funds to fund that project,” and that the transformer appeared to fail due to age.

The transformer was installed and sealed in the basement 48 years ago when the psychology building was originally built in 1973. Palmer said a refurbished transformer was ordered, as a new transformer would take months to arrive. At the time of the interview, he said there is an expected six to eight week long time period before the transformer will be restored.

The original estimated completion date for the project was the end of November but the team is trying to expedite the process and open the building at an earlier date if possible, according to Palmer. 

“We have equipment on site,” Palmer said. “We’ve just got to coordinate some final testing and inspection before we energize, and if we’re able to beat that date we will inform the building occupants so they can reoccupy that space.”

Students can find updates on this story via The Observer website. 


2022 Construction Projects on Campus

  • Expansion to Southeast side of Nicholson Pavilion, connecting to Purser Hall for Health Education 
  • Electrical feed maintenance on North side of campus
  • Replacement of Barge Hall roof
  • Brick tuck pointing for Barge Hall
  • Update of McConnell Hall elevator
  • Update of fire alarm panels in Barge Hall and Discovery Hall
  • Update of fume hood digital controls and ventilation in Science building
  • Landscaping that includes irrigation control and tree replacements
  • Roughly $700,000 worth of IT and IS modernization for data infrastructure
  • Over $500,000 to update building metering to improve energy efficiency
  • Improvement of sidewalks and concrete around campus