Feb 032011
Authors: Christopher Boan, Bonnie Cleveland

Anna Henschel was walking through the Education Building on her way to her 12:15 p.m. CO150 class when she noticed something was amiss.

“Smelly black sludge began dripping out of the ceiling, then started rushing out,” said Henschel, a freshman recreation and tourism major.

What Henschel didn’t know was this black sludge came from a pipe that had burst in one of the building’s walls, the third such incident in the past two days.

The pipe burst triggered the Education Building’s fire alarm, and the fire and police departments were immediately called to the scene. Upon arrival, they found that the water-flow alarm tripped the fire alarm.

The cause of the burst was a frozen sprinkler pipe, provoked by the near-zero temperatures characterizing the past few days and the old age of the Education Building.

The Industrial Sciences Building and multiple rooms in the Academic Village were evacuated Wednesday for similar occurrences.

According to Facilities Management Director Brian Chase, older and newer buildings are more susceptible to pipe bursts due to the extreme cold.
The cold weather freezes stagnant water in the pipes, causing it to expand and burst. Sub-zero temperatures combined with piping in the less-insulated walls can increase the likelihood of pipe burst.

The CSU Facilities Management team took preventative action by insulating the remaining portions of the pipes to prevent future bursts.

Though many students claimed to be happy to miss class as a result of the evacuations, the pipe burst led to negative consequences for CSU’s teachers.

There are 24 classrooms in the Education Building, and substitute classrooms are difficult to find.

“It throws you off a bit. When you find a replacement classroom, it’s too late to continue class,” said Larra Gullion, an instructor for the English Department. “There are no resources for how to find a new room.”

Staff writers Bonnie Cleveland and Christopher Boan can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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