Winter storm causes damage across campus due to burst water pipes

The winter storm has caused damages to at least five Baylor buildings in the last two days. Courtesy photo

By Rachel Royster | Staff Writer

At least five Baylor buildings have had water bursts due to the freezing temperatures in the past two days.

Some people have been asked to evacuate their residence halls and gather personal belongings to avoid water damage. Aramark maintenance staff have been able to mitigate most busted pipes relatively quickly.

Memorial Dining Hall was the first to have a water pipe leak, forcing Baylor to close a potential food source for its students.

Monday morning, the Baylor Dining Services Instagram announced that Memorial would be one of the dining halls available to get food from. Not long after the initial announcement that they would be open, the Instagram account updated their schedule saying that Memorial would be “closed due to maintenance/pipe damage.”

Approximately 8 p.m. Monday night, South Russell Residence Hall’s third floor had a minor leak in the maintenance closet near the elevator. It turned into a major leak and started flooding the third floor. The steaming water caused the fire alarm to go off.

“All of SoRo and NoRo were told to evacuate the building and go into the Penland dining hall to wait for something to change,” Washington, D.C., freshman Krista Wichterman said. “We didn’t know how long it would take, so we just grabbed some blankets, pillows and coats.”

After all the residents were cleared to go back later that evening, the water in the effected dorm rooms was vacuumed up. There are evacuation plans in place for all dorm residents in the event that other dormitory buildings have major damages due to the storm.

At around 9 or 10 p.m. Monday night, Brooks Residential College had a fourth floor water pipe break, causing it to flood with water leaking onto the third floor.

The McCrary Music Building had a pipe burst around the same time, causing music students to rush to retrieve their instruments before they could be damaged by the water.

“The leak was due to a broken cold water coil in the mechanical room on the second floor,” Dr. Micheal N. Jacobson, associate dean for operations, said in an email to music students. “This coil is part of the temperature control system. It will not be replaced for two weeks at the earliest due to supply limitations.”

There has been an additional sprinkler burst inside the Baylor Science Building, but the time of the incident is uncertain.

“We have had several weather-related incidents primarily related to leaks in pipes,” Lori Fogleman, assistant vice president of media and public relations, said on behalf of the university. “Our Aramark facilities team has been able to address most of them very quickly. We continue to be in the midst of an unprecedented winter weather event, so it’s too early to understand the full extent of the damage.”