Watery Mondays (Or: A year’s work)

Sometimes you just have a day where — at the end of the day — you still can’t believe it happened. It still feels a bit unreal.

One of the things that I am in charge of is the Learning Commons, which happens to be on the lower level. And over the weekend, it flooded with about 2 1/2 inches of water. The entire room, the long hallway outside of it, everything. Of course it happened on a Saturday – so I found out about it 48 hours after the fact, when most things (not all things, as I was to find out) were dry. And musty.

We still aren’t quite sure what happened – but the rumor is that the sprinkler system malfunctioned upstairs, sending a wall of water cascading down the elevator shaft. With nowhere else to go, it went down into the lower level. (In fact, it wasn’t the first time that room flooded. Years ago when it housed the journals and microfilm, we dealt with 10″ of water in there when a main pipe line burst. But that was before my time.)

It’s hard to explain how I felt when I went downstairs. You have to understand that the purchasing department and I spent time choosing the paint scheme, the furniture scheme, the tables, the chairs — you get the idea. About a third of my day is spent down there on average during the school year.

This was the sight I saw when I went downstairs:

Water damage in the hallway (which was also under the same amount of water). Look closely and you can see the damage to the tiles (it was worse closer to the Commons). Most of the furniture was on pegs, so it was lifted up a bit off the ground. But the sides of the couches and other furniture were still under about an inch of water since they were close to the ground.

This is the inside of the Commons:

Perhaps the most heartbreaking photo, with the wallpaper torn and in shambles. The room looks so empty again. The only godsend was that it was closed for the summer, and wasn’t scheduled to be re-opened until late August when Fall classes start.

The carpet squares will probably have to be completely replaced. They are soaked through and through.

This is part of the computers section:

Probably the worse damage occurred to the CPUs of the three computers, as they were on the floor (to save space). I picked up the CPU of the staff computer (not shown) and it still had water in it, 48 hours later. We had 6 computers down there – 2 (hopefully) survived since they were off the ground for various reasons.

I did receive word that the insurance company was going to visit on Wednesday morning, so hopefully we can get this place back in tip top shape by the end of August.

Here’s some happier photos of the Commons, when it opened last September:


Tomorrow’s a new day.

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