Union patio leaks wreak havoc on GSTV

Water leaking from the ceiling of the Geneseo State Television (GSTV) studio has forced the station to cancel some live programs and has raised significant safety concerns.

The studio, located in the basement of the College Union, is situated directly under the Union patio. Circumstances such as natural wear and tear, the recent snow storm, and insufficient water drainage management have all contributed to the worsening condition of the Union patio over the past several years. The water has penetrated the lower level of the Union and is now presenting an obstacle for the campus station.

The leaking is not new, but the amount of water dripping from the studio ceiling has increased significantly since the weekend. "The leaking became an issue for us last year," said senior Colleen Keltz, GSTV's general manager. "In the Fall we had to cancel multiple broadcasts due to water leaking near outlets and lights. This year it has become a greater issue as the leaks have intensified," she said.

"My first concern is with the safety of the students in GSTV, especially given all of the wiring down there," said Student Association President Brendan Quinn. "GSTV has stopped taping in their studio until the leaking subsides; however, they are still able to broadcast shows that have been previously recorded," he explained.

Rebuilding the Union patio has been on the agenda for Facilities Planning and Construction for a number of years, but other projects have taken priority. According to Charles Matthews, director of College Union and Activities, reconstruction of the Union patio is expected to begin near the end of the semester. Jeff Kaplan, director of Facilities Services, was unavailable for comment.

In the mean time, Matthews has discussed temporary solutions with GSTV. "One of the options we've had is to move the studio to Newton, where there are outfitted production studios that could house the station short-term," said Matthews. "The hope was that the leaking would not get to the extent at which it is now, and that the patio would have been repaired and we would have been able to weather this storm, but apparently the patio is failing more quickly than we thought," he said.

Roy Doane, the assistant vice president of facilities and planning, recommended long ago that GSTV move out because of the water problems. The campus station decided to stay in its own studio, however, because the leaking was controllable. Keltz is now putting more serious consideration into a temporary move, but as has been the case in the past, there are no appropriate accommodations, even in the Newton studio.

The current situation of crumbling ceiling tiles and rusting pipes has not posed a threat, but the foreseeable outcome is a concern. "No studio equipment has been damaged other than the outlets that shorted out when the leaking first started last year," said senior Tim Spayd, GSTV's chief engineer. "We do have tarps covering our studio cameras and we moved some equipment to prevent any permanent damage." GSTV is also borrowing some buckets and garbage cans from SA and the Union to deal with the excess water. In addition, Matthews has been in regular contact with Facilities Services. "I've already contacted Facilities Services and they've come over and cleaned up some stuff [in the studio]," said Matthews. "They did remove a lot of the snow off the patio, too."

Keltz and Spayd are doing what they can to keep GSTV afloat. "It's very frustrating as there isn't really anything we can do to fix the leaks or even prevent them," Spayd said. "It's disheartening for the students who work so hard to produce shows that whether or not the shows air depends on the weather," added Keltz. "Also, seeing how the leaking is not new, I can't believe that its taken this amount of damage to receive attention. Furthermore, the College should be more concerned about the safety of the students in this situation then they appear to be."