On Feb. 7, at approximately 1:45 p.m., Sturges Hall was evacuated due to flooding on the second floor of the building.
According to Assistant Vice President for Facilities and Planning Roy Doan, the damage was caused by a broken pipe in the attic above room 208 which is part of the fire sprinkler line. The water had damaged a section of the old plaster ceiling and a newer suspended ceiling which was installed to lower the ceiling for improved lighting. The water caused the roof in room 208A to collapse and flood with approximately three to four inches of water.
The water continued down to rooms 108 and 109, doing minimal damage to the ceiling tiles. The old plaster ceiling contains asbestos and will require a contractor to handle the asbestos abatement and reconstruction of the area. "There have already been visits to the site for estimating the cost of cleanup and repair," stated Doan.
Assistant Provost Enrico Johnson explained that there was a class in room 208A when the leaking began. The fire alarm sounded before the pipes burst, so the individuals in the class exited prior to the roof collapse and flooding.
"The damage from the pipe was unavoidable and was caused by the extremely cold weather," according to Linda House, chair of the communicative disorders and sciences department. The faculty members whose offices were located in room 208 have been relocated.
The Facilities Department staff responded immediately and shut off the water, accessed the cause of the flooding, and began the clean up of the water. "I was very impressed by the responsiveness of various personnel from the College. Maintenance workers arrived promptly and immediately began the process of extracting water from the second floor hallway," stated associate professor of communicative disorders and sciences Doug MacKenzie.
Equipment recently purchased by the communicative disorders and sciences department was not damaged since the water damage only affected the southern most part of the building.
Senior Meg Vasey had class in room 208 moments before the ceiling caved in. "The fire alarm went off but everyone thought that it was just a drill so there wasn't much urgency and some people even left their stuff in the room," said Vasey. It wasn't until the next day after seeing a picture of the flooded classroom in The Lamron that Vasey realized the extent of the damage. "There were electrical wires and pieces of ceiling that landed right on the desk I had been sitting in." Vasey commented that this incident speaks volumes about Geneseo's safety and evacuation procedures. "I think students are so exposed to fire drills that they become desensitized. When there's an actual emergency, there should be some further type of notification to let us know that it is the real deal."
By Friday, rooms 108 and 109 were available for classes, and the pipe was repaired. However, because of the extent of the damage to room 208, it may take two to three weeks before it is available for use. All classes scheduled for room 208A have been temporarily relocated.