$1 million projected to repair damage from burst water pipe

A chilling pipe in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building broke early Friday morning, causing approximately $1 million in damage, University of Minnesota spokesman Dan Wolter said. This is the second time in two months that a cooling pipe has burst in a University building. The pipe burst around 3 a.m., flooding the five floors of the building and causing Friday and Saturday classes to relocate to other buildings. The northeast corner of the building had water damage, including two inches of water on the fourth and fifth floors and as much as an inch on the floors below, Building and Grounds employee Randy Gilliard said . âÄúI sucked a lot of water out the halls and out of offices,âÄù he said Friday. âÄúThereâÄôs a lot of water in there.âÄù Gilliard was working in the Mayo Memorial Building when he received a call from University Facilities Management to go to the building to help clean around 6:45 a.m. He worked until 10:30 a.m. with about 25 other Building and Grounds employees, he said. In reaction to the water damage, some professors moved their classes to nearby buildings, such as Vincent and Amundson Halls, and posted signs outside the closed building. In addition to Facilities Management, Emergency Management , University police and the Department of Environmental Health and Safety went to the building Friday to determine how to remove the water. Because the water was from the cooling system, it was filled with a variety of chemicals. Wolter said they determined it was safe to discard into the sewers. While some classes will be held in the unaffected computer science side of the building, other Monday classes are still being relocated. Facilities Management met with a contractor Sunday and is hopeful to have the building fixed in a week to 10 days, Wolter said. In fixing the building, workers have to replace some walls and carpet, and dry everything out to prevent a future mold problem. Classes are not the only thing affected by the leak. Thomas Kelsey, a department accountant whose office is in the building, said Facilities Management told him to work from home Monday due to the âÄúsubstantial flooding damage.âÄù Kelsey said his fourth floor office was not damaged at all, but he saw water on the floor of other offices. Although many students received a text message about the incident from TXT-U as early as 8:30 a.m., not all students knew whether or not Friday classes were canceled. Electrical engineering sophomore Kevin Lammi said a friend forwarded him the emergency text message, but he still went to the building for his 10:10 a.m. discussion. âÄúWe heard that maybe some classes might still be open, so we figured we had to check it out first,âÄù Lammi said. As of 2:30 p.m. Sunday, he had not heard anything from the University about the damage or the status of his Monday class. âÄúIf I donâÄôt hear anything, I guess IâÄôll just have to go and see if itâÄôs open, but IâÄôd like to hear something beforehand,âÄù Lammi said. âÄúItâÄôd be really inconvenient if I had to go to campus and it was closed.âÄù Classes will not be cancelled, Wolter said, and any classes being relocated will be posted outside the building. The Friday incident is not the first this winter. Wolter said a pipe broke in the Bell Museum of Natural History over winter break. Because the incident happened over break, the museum was not a heavy traffic area. The building did not close and business operations were not affected.