Brodie flooding causes extensive damage

On June 6, a water pipe in the basement of Brodie Hall separated, causing three feet of flooding and damage to systems in the mechanical and electrical switchgear rooms.

The pipe was recently put in as part of a project to install water meters at three sites where the municipal water supply enters the campus. The cause of the pipe separation is still under investigation.

As a result of the damage, electrical service for the building was not available and the building was closed from June 6 until students returned to Geneseo on Aug. 23.

“In terms of when it happened during the year, [summer] is a good time for it to happen,” said professor of music Jonathan Gonder. “Students were away, and they came back and it was just like normal. A lot of work was done at a high rate of speed to get the hall back in working order before classes started.”

Faculty members who were still occupying the building were moved to Fraser Hall temporarily while the repairs of Brodie were underway.

Initially, it seemed the repairs would not be completed in time for the school year and the provost and the department chairs of Brodie drew up contingency plans. These plans included holding classes in other buildings on campus and having auditions and individual instruction in local churches.

“There were efforts to maintain some electricity for air circulation which was up and running after two days,” said Gonder. “Humidity is not a good thing for musical instruments, so that’s why the air circulation was needed. We have not suffered any damage to any instruments that I know of, which is a very good thing.”

Other equipment suffered more extensive damage, including the electrical transformer, a major motor control center and the electrical switchgear. In addition, a number of pumps, controls, water heaters, air heaters, air compressors and cell tower equipment, owned by T-Mobile and Sprint, were also damaged.

“[The repairs] cost somewhere between $750,000 and $1 million in hard costs, meaning actual equipment and labor to dewater, get all of the damaged equipment out and put all of the new equipment in,” said George Stooks, assistant vice president for facilities and planning, who oversaw the repair and renovation of Brodie.

A state emergency fund covered the cost of the repairs temporarily.

“Eventually we will pursue repayment from the contractor’s insurance company,” said Stooks.

“Accidents do happen, there wasn’t really much that could be done to prevent it,” said Stooks. “There was really nothing that could have been done to mitigate the damage once the flooding started.”

Though the air conditioning units for the Lederer Gallery and the hall’s theaters are still undergoing repairs, Brodie Hall is functioning normally.

“We’re back and we’re functioning full tilt,” said Gonder.