Water main pipe failure causes campus area closures

 The Ven Den lounge is closed off until Monday, Feb. 12. Photo by Samantha Church

The Ven Den lounge is closed off until Monday, Feb. 12. Photo by Samantha Church

At approximately 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 7, a 6-inch water main pipe failed located under Kirby Plaza, according to a SAFEU email that was sent to the campus community. The pipe’s purpose was to serve the fire suppression system for the central part of campus which includes Cina, Humanities, Tweed, AB Anderson and Bohannon Halls.

Classes held in Bohannon 90 are cancelled on Friday, Feb. 9 and will resume on Monday, Feb. 12. The Ven Den lounge is also closed until Monday, Feb. 12. Facilities Management crews are currently assessing damage and are working on the needed repairs or replacement. Custodial Manager Chris Stevens is still unsure as to how much the damage will cost.

“I do know that our facility management crews saved us 10,000 of dollars,” Stevens said.

According to Facilities Management, the Bohannon Hall elevator is currently not in service due to the water main pipe failure. Besides the stairs, there is no alternate elevator route to the second and third floors of Bohannon.

The crew’s timely response allowed them to keep building damage to a minimum.

 Fans dry the carpetting in the Ven Den lounge on the night of Wednesday, Feb. 7. Photo by Samantha Church

Fans dry the carpetting in the Ven Den lounge on the night of Wednesday, Feb. 7. Photo by Samantha Church

“As always, please use caution when walking near construction areas and FM crews,” the email said.

Due to the broken pipe, the fire suppression sprinklers in Cina and Bohannon are not available in case of fire. The alarm system is still in tact and the Duluth Fire Department is aware of the temporary sprinkler outage.

“This is the most damage I’ve seen in the 20 years I’ve been here,” Stevens said. “If we haven’t had our crews working on it we wouldn’t have been able to save as much as we did.”

NewsSamantha Church