The second water pipe break in a week occurred at the College in the Townhouses South complex on the afternoon of Feb. 12. Facilities workers said that a sprinkler pipe froze and ruptured inside the data network closet adjacent to house 17.
The pipe break left residents without water until 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 12 and without swipe access until midday on Tuesday, Feb. 13. Residents in houses 3-17 are without Internet access as of press time.
“The electric closet that was affected houses all of the Internet, phone and access control servers and cables,” Melanie Hinds, complex coordinator for Townhouses South, said.
In an e-mail sent to Townhouses South residents, Hinds described the damage done to the electrical components in the closet as “severe.”
“Water infiltrated all of the communications equipment in that closet, the network switches were destroyed and all of the cabling terminations got wet,” Hinds said.
The extent of the damage requires the use of an outside contractor. A communications contractor arrived on Monday, Feb. 19 in hopes of repairing the damage. The College’s Information Technology staff is working with the communications contractor to obtain the necessary replacement components. In the letter, Hinds said that Internet access could be restored as early as yesterday. (The Signal goes to print Monday night.)
“Information has been hard to come by, and only on Friday were we given even a tentative idea of when to expect restoration of Internet service,” AJ Richards, senior physics major, said. “Perhaps they don’t realize that to a college student, lack of Internet is not just inconvenient, but utterly incapacitating.”
Hinds said that damage caused to adjacent rooms was minimal. Carpeting in the lounge of house 17 and in room 17A was affected. However, Building Services staff quickly addressed the situation.
“Both the carpeting in the room and lounge were completely dried by Tuesday evening,” Hinds said.
Hinds added that no students were relocated due to the ruptured water pipe. The student staff member residing in room 17A was allowed to return to her room shortly after the incident on Monday evening.
The Feb. 14 issue of The Signal reported the bursting of a sprinkler pipe in New Residence Hall. This instance was attributed to a rooftop ventilation system that allowed outside cold air to freeze the pipe. Hinds was uncertain as to whether the Townhouses South complex uses a similar ventilation system.
“I can’t be sure what kind of ventilation system the townhouses use,” Hinds said.
Hinds emphasized that the College’s response was quick and multifaceted. The break was reported by the housing assistant in house 17 at 1:50 p.m. Campus Police arrived on the scene by 2 p.m., and representatives from the offices of Facilities, Building Services, Environmental Services and Residence Life arrived 15 minutes afterward.
“They all responded extremely diligently and effectively in assessing the cause of the problem and resolving the problem in order to ensure the safety of the students and the structural stability of the townhouses,” Hinds said.