As students returned to classes on the first academic day of the term, a pipe that had cracked in the sprinkler drenched the ground-level entrance to the west stairway of Seymour Union. Campus Facilities cordoned off the area as repairs were made, cutting off students’ access to both the mailroom and the bookstore.
According to Director of Facilities Scott Maust, a heating fan coil had failed over the preceding weekend, allowing the temperatures in the pipe to drop below freezing. As the ice in the pipe expanded, the sprinkler head cracked. After the fan was repaired and the temperature rose, the ice melted and the break was unblocked, allowing water to spray over the stairwell.
“[Facilities personnel] were vigilant over winter break, but this occurred over a weekend when no one was present,” Maust said.
A similar incident occurred during winter break with a pipe in the boiler room of Conger-Neal residence hall. In both instances, there was no permanent water damage caused, and the only repairs necessary were to replace the sprinkler heads that cracked, costing about $10 each.
Maust warned that while Campus Facilities does all it can to prevent the cold from causing such problems, they rely on students reporting heating issues to the department for proper prevention.
“Please notify services employees if you have any issues,” Maust said.