University housing sprinkler piping fixed; South Quad Sprinkler system back online

After approximately a week and a half, the sprinkler piping and the sprinkler system has been repaired in the South Quad as well as the Greek Court sprinkler system.

Some pipes throughout Thomas Hall, Stevenson Hall, Douglas Hall and a couple of houses in Greek Court burst, flooding sections of each hall. The pipe burst because of the below freezing temperatures rocking Eastern as well as most of the Midwest.

To repair the pipes, Housing and Dining Services sought out Automatic Fire Sprinklers Inc. based out of Normal Ill., for roughly $15,000. Mark Hudson, the director of Housing and Dining Services, said the university plumbers and carpenters helped out with the repairs. The building service workers helped with cleaning up after they were flooded.

Hudson said they had to repair or replace some of the carpet and wall tile.

“There is some finishing work that has to be done with the replacement of ceiling tiles,” he said. “The ceiling tiles are on order and we expect them soon.”

They have already re-glued some of the carpet, which was loose from the flooding.

Hudson said while it did do some damage, it wasn’t immense because it was only water.

Those working on the pipes tracked where the cold air seeped in, causing the problem, and sealed insulated them more significantly. They have also put temperature-monitoring devices in place in order to know when it drops below a certain temperature and when Housing and Dining Services needs to be concerned.

Hudson said insurance may cover the price of the repairs but he is not sure.

He added it all depends on how the insurance company sees the damages. If they see each pipe a separate problem, it will probably not reach a deductible. If they see all the pipes as one issue then it will probably be covered.

Hudson also said this was very surprising temperatures and when they installed the sprinkler system around four years ago, it had not seen temperatures that low. The other piping had been in place and well insulated for roughly 50 years.

“There has probably always been cold air up there, but when there wasn’t a pipe to freeze, it wasn’t an issue,” he said. “Those pipes have been up there for only a couple of years since we finished the piping project in 2010.”

Much of the damage cost, excluding the repair for the pipes, is still being worked out.

Jarad Jarmon can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]