Successful Electric Test
Further electric system testing
will take place on Thursday and Friday, Aug. 14-15.
Two dozen people encircled the
conference table in Facilities Management Monday, Aug. 11,
each one with a connection to the new cogeneration power
system located nearby.
It was the afternoon before the $11.5 million system would
be tested and three years after the project began by securing
approval from the Board of Trustees.
"We are gathered here today," said
John Robinson, Smith's manager of capital projects, addressing
an audience of electricians, engineers and Smith staff, before
trailing off. "Do you guys have everything you need?"
The following morning, before most campus-goers were up
and about, the college would disconnect from the regional
electric grid and find out whether the new system worked.
Even those unrelated to
the project -- Northampton police and fire employees --
would be on site, staging a drill around the brief electrical
outages that were expected when Smith went "offline."
The preparation apparently paid off.
"Testing of the new electrical switch gear went very
well," said Gary Hartwell, Smith's project manager. "The
campus experienced several momentary --2 to 3 second -- power
outages Several buildings, including the science center,
were out for up to 25 minutes while adjustments were made."
The campus servers were operational again by 8 a.m., allowing
staffers to begin work as soon as they turned on their computers.
Wednesday, August 13, testing
resumed between 5 and 7 a.m. with planned momentary power
outages across campus. Further testing will take place on
Thursday and Friday, Aug. 14-15, between 5 and 7 a.m., with
planned power outages anticipated.
for unplanned outages will remain until testing is completed
on or before September 9, according to Hartwell.