Tech building makes speedy recovery after flood

The Technology Building sustained significant flooding and water damage while students were away on winter break.

On Dec. 20, two pipes in new building’s baseboard heating system — the system that carries water throughout the building — became detached, causing the flood.

The flood went undetected until around noon the next day when four students came in to work on their senior projects.

Mechanical engineering majors Duane Lewis, Christopher Holzmann, Anthony Bruno and Alexander Strauss were the first to discover the flood. The students tried moving the technological equipment in order to save it from extensive water damage.

Bruno, the first to notice that something was wrong, spotted water coming from the bathroom, the stairwell and the lecture hall.

After grabbing his teammate, Lewis, they ran up to see if the roof was leaking before reporting the damage University Police.

Bruno then returned the first floor where he met up with a campus services representative and began inspecting the extent of water damage in the classrooms.

“We immediately started to pull chairs, equipment, desks, and anything else we could out of the classroom to prevent any further damage,” Bruno said. “By that time, the high frequency testing equipment had already been completely ruined, which was extremely unfortunate.”

After word of the flooding traveled across campus, the students were joined by a contingent of faculty and staff who came to help prevent further equipment damage.

Other students who were working on their projects also came to help save any equipment from being ruined.

Peter Greenhalgh of computer and technology services was contacted by Terry Harding, the campus services director, about the damage to the Technology Building.

Greenhalgh helped ensure the equipment was stored safely. He said that he tested over 100 computers and around 200 monitors to make sure they were operating properly.

“Plain and simple: nothing would have been completed without the entire campus pitching in from the president on down to the students that assisted us throughout the break,” Greenhalgh said.

According to Greenhalgh, people all over campus came to help out to ensure that the Technology Building would be ready to host students for the beginning of the spring semester.

Greenhalgh said that Campus Services, Computing and Technology Services, Instructional Resources and other departments helped with readying the building for the new semester.

The repairs to the building took about a month and finished just before the spring semester began.

Contractors who were working on the Houston Gym project came over to fix the damage that was done to the Technology Building. They removed and restored damaged drywall and wet installation. They also installed new wiring and repainted.

Everything was environmentally retested to make sure that nothing would be moldy or harmful to students and faculty that would occupy the building.

Classes scheduled to meet in the building were given the go for the spring semester.

During J-term, two classes that were scheduled in the Technology Building were moved to a different part of the campus.

“It was just absolutely amazing that they got everything done in a month,” Rita Zientek, interim dean for the school of the professions, said. “And for all the people, campus facilities especially, for dropping everything during the holidays, they did an amazing job in a short amount of time.”

Zientek said about 25 percent of the building was affected by the flooding.

Zientek was told that when the building was being originally constructed, its contractor, JW Danforth, damaged the pipe when workers were closing up the wall.

The damage sustained during the incident is believed to be the cause of the flooding, Zientek said.

“The building was still under warranty, so all of this damage is covered by the warranty of the building and the contractor who did the baseboard heating system,” Zientek said. “It’s not going to cost the college anything at all.”

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