Pipe burst on campus creates literal trickle-down effect
Published: Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 01:01
On Dec. 17, a heating pipe on the fourth floor of the Linus Pauling Science Center broke apart. Water poured from the pipe, lining the west wing of the fourth floor and causing wall, floor and property damage. After carrying out loads of property, both salvageable and damaged, paneling and flooring have recently been stripped from the building.
The water from the fourth floor cascaded all the way to the ground floor, with just drips of water falling through by the time water broke through the first floor ceiling. Most of the visible damage can be found on the west side of the fourth floor, with a completely stripped wood floor in what was a dining room area.
People in the building noticed a pre-existing problem with water dripping slowly from the pipe, but repairs had yet to take place.
About 30 staff members have been displaced due to office damages, including 10 offices on the fourth floor and eight on the third floor. OSU under an emergency declaration aims to work quickly to restore and repair the building, thus begging questions involving timelines.
“If we are lucky, we will have news by the first of February,” said Patrick Hughes, OSU chief risk officer. “Once we decide on a contractor and are ready for construction, we’re looking at a four to six week timeline for restoration and repair.”
How much will the rebuilding cost OSU? According to Hughes, a rough projection at this point puts restoration costs at about $100,000 and repair costs at around $350,000-450,000. OSU has a $500,000 insurance deductible and it remains to be seen whether costs will fall above or below the deductible.
According to Hughes, the situation isn’t the best, but isn’t the worst either.
“If the pipe burst on the first floor, we would probably be looking at a $10,000 cleanup,” Hughes said. “If the leak caused damage to the research facilities, we would be looking at a much larger expense.”
Hughes has spent much time over the past few weeks in the building, meeting with Jim Patton, Fire Prevention Officer for the Corvallis Fire Department, and with OSU facilities, risk management and construction teams.
He has also worked with the displaced faculty, who he regards as very cooperative and understanding with the repairs.
“This is a high end, brand new building with lots of kids and faculty,” Hughes said. “A lot of the affected staff have been really good, know what happened and have been very professional.”
Jack Lammers, news editor
On Twitter @jacklammers