By DANIEL BRADLEYThe Washington TimesMay 12, 2018 3:13PMThe light at the end of the tunnel is now officially coming back.
Harvard Extension School, the university’s school of electricians and electricians’ technical college, has closed its doors, ending a five-year experiment to upgrade the lights on the school’s buildings and other campus buildings.
The school’s electricians union, which represents more than 200,000 electricians, said on Monday that the lights are out and they’re cancelling classes for the first time in more than 30 years.
The lights were on in all of the school�s buildings except for the engineering building.
They were turned off in engineering building classrooms on Monday, and they will stay on until the school shuts down on Wednesday, said J.R. Shultz, president of the Massachusetts Electrical and Computer Workers� Association, which negotiated the deal with the university.
He said the lights have been working for three decades, but they were shut down in the spring semester after the university announced the closure of its engineering building for renovation.�The lights are off for the rest of the semester,� Shultz said.
He said the university had not told them when it would reopen.
Harvest is the first school in the United States to shut down its electrical systems and electrical service for five years after it shut down the lights in 2019.
The school is one of two universities in the nation to shut its lights off in the same year.
In the spring, Harvard University closed its electrical system in order to repair damaged wires.
The electricians have been negotiating for a contract with the Massachusetts Public Utilities Commission since at least the 1980s, and in December 2018, the commission agreed to a contract that covers the remaining years of the deal.
It will take another year for the contract to be finalized, Shultz and others said.
The university has a $2 billion contract with a private company that is trying to repair and replace some of the electrical equipment at the school.
Harvey Rosen, the school president, said he did not know if the school would reopen after the shutdown, and he did know that some of its buildings were closed, including the engineering library, and that the electrical work could take months.�I do not know when we might be able to reopen,� Rosen said.
A group of about 70 electricians took part in a petition drive in October to have the lights restored and reopened, but the effort failed to gain traction.
The next step is for the university to conduct a safety review and conduct a full safety audit.
A similar petition was submitted in February to get the lights back on, and the union has pushed the commission to extend the contract.
The commission rejected the petition, saying it was not feasible.