Clemson University trustees have approved the initial concept plan to replace and upgrade the main campus electrical distribution system. The project is estimated to cost $75 million, to be paid for with maintenance and stewardship funds and state institution bonds.
Brett Dalton, vice president for finance, said, “Replacing and updating the antiquated and unreliable 50- to 60-year-old electrical infrastructure is essential to meeting the basic electrical service needs of the campus while simultaneously increasing safety, efficiency and reliability.”
The University is hoping to avoid a campuswide blackout like the one that occurred last November, which was traced to failure of a 40-year-old switch in the basement of Sikes Hall, the main administration building. Greenville Online reported that most of campus was back online within a few hours, but Sikes Hall, where the president's office is located, had to run on a gasoline generator for several days.
Clemson was already in the process of a $16 million upgrade of its electrical infrastructure and was planning the bigger project when the blackout occurred, according to facilities director Bob Wells.