Over 1,000 gallons of water burst through one of the sprinkler heads in the Joslin Senate Chamber in Miami’s Armstrong Student Center (ASC) over roughly 30 minutes on Wednesday, Jan. 3. The sudden burst of water pressure set off the fire alarm, forcing everyone in Armstrong to evacuate until the Oxford Fire Department (OFD) arrived to shut off the water.
A pool of water reached the third row of seating, but the damage was mainly concentrated on the eastern side of the chamber, including a part of the ceiling, sections of drywall and several wooden panels along the wall.
“The problem is not that the pipes themselves burst,” ASC’s building service coordinator, Jim Rhodes said. “It’s that a hole the size of the pencil, where normally this green, cylindrical glass bulb is located in the sprinkler, was missing.”
The estimate of how much it will cost to fix the damage as well as whose insurance will have to foot the bill — either Miami University’s or Messer Construction’s — is still being determined, as is the cause of the defect in the sprinkler head.
“The insurance hasn’t been determined yet, because the cause will drive which insurance company will need to pay the cost of remediation,” director of ASC Katie Wilson said.
There was an extremely quick clean-up response between Armstrong, the physical facilities department and Messer Construction given the situation, Rhodes said.
The combined clean-up crews worked from 11:43 a.m. (when OFD turned the water off and cut the power to the electronics) until 5 p.m.
“At this point we are still unsure of the status of which electronics work,” Wilson said. “As of right now we’ve tested the outlets, which work and the projector screen goes up and down.”
The university has contracted Nor-Com (an AV low voltage building solutions company) through Miami’s network service to test the electronics, which also includes the microphones utilized by senators in Miami’s Associated Student Government (ASG) during Senate meetings throughout the semester.
In addition to the damage inside the chamber, there was also an inch of water that saturated the carpeting of some of the ASC administrative offices, but the Miami crew responded quickly to suction out the water before mold had the chance to grow.
“Right now ASC is working with student organizations and contacting various individuals who have reservations in the Joslin Senate Chamber for second semester,” Wilson said. “We are doing everything we can to keep everyone informed and up to date as soon as possible.”
This is a developing story. Please check back to miamistudent.net for further updates.