Subscribe for 33¢ / day

The evacuation and closure of Southwest Wisconsin Technical College in Fennimore on Wednesday was because a man thought his estranged wife was having an affair with a student at the school, and allegedly made threats to find him and assault him.

The Grant County Sheriff's Office said William Howell, 42, of Livingston, was taken into custody at his residence on a tentative charge of disorderly conduct.

Howell is believed to have threatened coming to the campus to find the supposed lover in numerous texts he sent to his estranged wife Halloween night.

The unidentified wife is a student at the school, along with the unidentified male student Howell accused his wife of having an affair with.

According to the Sheriff's Office report, Howell discovered the male student "liked" pictures of his children on Facebook when he looked at the site Halloween night, leading him to believe his wife was having an affair.

"He became very angry and began messaging his estranged wife via Facebook and text messages throughout the night," the report said. "These messages included threats to come to the campus and find this male and assault him."

Powell, who never went to the campus to confront the other man, went to his estranged wife's apartment at about 7 a.m. Wednesday, confronting her about the supposed affair while allegedly trying to stop her from taking their children to school.

"Based on the threats towards a student, school officials made the decision to close the campus, and sent students home while the investigation unfolded," the report said.

The school was closed for the day, but reopened Thursday.

Southwest Tech President Jason Wood thanked all of the people who responded to the campus during the evacuation.

"I want to thank the first responders, Fennimore police and the Grant County Sheriff's Office, who acted quickly, decisively, and effectively," Wood said.

"Members of our emergency response team also performed well," Wood said. "Thank you to everyone who quickly left campus as instructed. As always, safety is a priority."