Traffic resumes near Student Life Center

Normal traffic along Pashley Drive resumed shortly before noon today, as an investigation into the cause of this morning’s explosion at the Student Life Center construction site continued.

The natural gas explosion occurred shortly after 7 a.m. today in a room housing an emergency power generator. Three employees of contractors working on the project were injured and transported to Upstate Hospital in Syracuse. Their injuries were not life threatening.

Construction has been halted on the site until further notice, pending the investigation into the cause of the accident. The campus is otherwise operating according to its normal schedule.

The full extent of the damage caused by the incident is still being evaluated.


Explosion at Student Life Center

An explosion occurred shortly after 7 a.m. on the construction site of SUNY Cortland’s student life center. Three contractors were injured and transported to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse. Their injuries were not life threatening.

Construction has halted on the site until further notice, pending an investigation. The campus is otherwise operating according to its normal schedule.

Electric Power Restored

Full power has been restored to the entire campus. All College functions  – including summer session classes – will be able to return to normal operation Tuesday, May 27, after the Memorial Day weekend.
Thanks to long hours of determined effort by Physical Plant workers, a new transformer switch was installed Sunday afternoon. Electrical power was restored shortly after that.

Cooperation of faculty and staff requested

Members of the campus community should power down all computers, copiers, fax machines and other devices before leaving campus for the holiday weekend.

These precautions are necessary because if things go as planned we should be able to restore full power to campus this weekend. That restoration will require all campus buildings to lose power at some point, most likely Sunday, May 25.

Buildings on lower campus – Park Center, Professional Studies Building, Commissary and Physical Plant, as well as Dragon Hall and Smith and Casey halls – will experience a short outage lasting about 30 seconds.

All other campus facilities will be without power for as long as two hours as a new transformer switch is installed and repairs are made. The shut-offs and subsequent repowering will be staggered, so buildings will experience outages at slightly different times.

The College website and online services or programs – such as Blackboard and online classes – will not be affected.

Please do not plan to do work on campus over the weekend if it can be avoided. Use a remote location if necessary to avoid being impacted by the power shutdown.

Updates on the situation will be provided through email and SUNY Cortland’s emergency Website.




Electrical Repair Timeframe Shortened

The replacement of a faulty electrical switch responsible for SUNY Cortland’s power outage has been fast-tracked, and full power could be restored to campus as early as Tuesday, May 27.

Until the repair is complete, all upper campus buildings will have limited power. Faculty, staff and students in those buildings should continue to restrict electricity use as much as possible. Anyone who has been assigned an alternative classroom or workspace on lower campus, which has full power, should continue in that location until advised otherwise.

All faculty and staff members should power down their computers Friday afternoon before the long weekend.

Members of the campus community should check this Website over the holiday weekend for updates on when full power will be restored and how the campus will return to normal operation.

Cause of Power Outage Found

The cause of the electrical outage that has left most of the SUNY Cortland campus with limited power has been determined. A replacement part has been ordered, but faculty, staff and students should plan to function under the current partial power conditions until at least May 30.

That’s the most recent estimate of the time it will take a new transformer switch to be shipped to campus and installed in the southern electrical substation.  It is possible the repairs could be completed before – or after – that target date.

By curtailing electrical use on upper campus, SUNY Cortland will be able to provide basic electrical service – essentially lights and computers – in all campus buildings until the work is finished.


While a serious electrical problem is being repaired, most of the SUNY Cortland campus will be forced to operate at partial power, creating a situation that will require a degree of patience and sacrifice from all members of the campus community.

By curtailing electrical use on upper campus, the College will be able to provide basic power – essentially lights and computers – to all campus buildings, including the Child Care Center, until the problem is resolved.

It is critically important that all faculty, staff and students eliminate all unnecessary electricity use on upper campus. The College is closely monitoring energy use in all affected buildings and may be forced to take building equipment offline if it threatens our overall capacity limit – possibly with very little warning.

By unplugging coffee makers, electric fans, microwave ovens and other devices and by using available facilities on the lower campus – which is unaffected by the problem – members of the campus community will help us avoid this. Before making copies, please consider alternatives such as having documents duplicated at an off-campus location or doing the work at a later date.

Necessary work on the electrical system could take as long as a week. During that time, please be aware of the following measures:

  • Air conditioning will not be available in any upper campus buildings. People with medical concerns related to warm temperatures should contact Human Resources for possible temporary reassignment to a workstation in a lower campus building.
  • Only two upper campus buildings will have elevator service: The Education Building, to meet the needs of the Child Care Center, and Miller, because of its height.
  • Summer session classes have been temporarily relocated to Park Center and the Professional Studies Building, which will be air-conditioned and have full electrical service.  A number of other campus events have also been relocated or rescheduled.
  • There will be no ASC food service on campus until further notice. Hilltop in Brockway Hall, the only dining facility currently operating, closed today at 1:30 p.m.
  • The Tomik fitness center in the Van Hoesen/Cornish complex will close. Woods fitness center in Park Center will be open for all people who normally use Tomik.
  • Any students staying overnight on campus have been moved to Smith Tower, which is served by the same electrical feed that powers lower campus. All other campus residence buildings will have limited power.

Thank you in advance for the patience and cooperation needed to keep SUNY Cortland operating as smoothly and effectively as possible during this time.

Please continue to check the campus homepage for updates on the power situation.