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Power restored at University of Charleston

Note: Power was restored at University of Charleston about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.


CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Fifteen candles illuminated an otherwise dark cafeteria at the University of Charleston Tuesday following a power outage that affected most of campus.

"People were happy with classes being canceled, but they were bored out of their minds," said Morgan Williams, a freshman from Philadelphia.

A massive snowstorm swept through West Virginia Tuesday thanks to a cold front meeting large amounts of moisture in the air from Hurricane Sandy.

Williams, along with fellow freshman Deanna Jones of Connecticut, came to the cafeteria with about 40 other students as it opened at 4 p.m.

Using words like "horrible," "dark," and "miserable" to describe the day, both were nervous about where they were going to sleep that night. As of late Tuesday none of the five student housing facilities had power.

If the power wasn't restored, they planned to stay at a friend's house off-campus.

Not all of the roughly 750 students who live on the campus had that option, UC President Ed Welch said.

"With people this age, it's kind of a kick for one night," Welch said from the dark cafeteria.

The thrill diminishes as the outage stretches into the second day, he said.

As of late Tuesday, a plan was in the works for alternative housing for students who live on campus, but Welch did not want to provide more information until the details were finalized. It was to involve a central location with blankets and other needed items, he said.  

The university has generators in the School of Pharmacy to keep lab materials cool, in Riggleman Hall to run the school's computer system and in the cafeteria for emergency lighting.  

Power in the pharmacy building allowed first-year pharmacy student Kyle Sargent to charge his laptop and phone. His home in Cross Lanes was without power, and UC classes were held as planned Tuesday morning, so Sargent decided to stay on campus when that changed in the afternoon.

Although Welch said "nary a tear was shed" by students over missed class time, Sargent said he was a little disappointed.

"We got to have our morning classes, but it's going to put us behind in lab," Sargent said.

Classes are canceled today as well, and Welch said university staff is planning some entertainment for students. He said he appreciated everyone's flexibility and cooperation. Students and staff will be kept up to date through the internal global alert system.

At least 15 other colleges and universities across West Virginia canceled classes on all or some of their campuses Tuesday.

In Elkins, where it snowed more than 18 inches in 24 hours, students at Davis & Elkins College remained in good spirits, spokeswoman Carol Schuler said. The college installed generators at its student center, where it was providing light, heat and food, she said in an emailed update.

"The center will remain open 24/7 until the state of emergency is lifted. A square dance and other entertainment options are planned for this evening," Schuler said.

More than 40 counties closed or delayed public school on Tuesday. By 5 p.m., another five already had canceled classes for today.

Terry Hollandsworth, maintenance director for Kanawha County Schools, said facilities all over the county lost power.

He and his team spent Tuesday morning making sure the systems were running properly once power was restored. They planned to start early today with more maintenance work.

Additional school closing information is available at daily

Contact writer Dave Boucher at 304-348-4843 or Follow him at  




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