Truman State University staff removed thousands of gallons of water from the Student Union Building and Violette Hall on Christmas Eve and into the early morning hours of Christmas Day. Other isolated water damage occurred across campus, with the most destructive event destroying the student recreation center gymnasium floor.
Laura Bates, executive director for student union and campus recreation, described the water damage at the gym in the recreation center. Bates said the water source came from a broken water fountain, with water spilling on top of a large section of the gym floor and under it. Bates said the damage first occurred the Thursday or Friday before New Year’s, and was discovered the same day.
The water damaged the gym floor beyond repair, warping large portions of the floor. Bates said nearly 100 gallons of water in total was removed from the gym area with shop vacuums, dehumidifiers and floor scrubbing machines. Bates said despite these efforts, a large amount of water remains under the gym floor that can’t be removed without taking out the gym floor.
“Unfortunately, the gym is unavailable for play until further notice,” Bates said. “We are recommended for a replacement. A bid is going out to companies to know how much it’s going to cost. From there, a vendor will be selected to redo the floor,” Bates said.
Bates said a timeline for reconstruction is challenging to estimate. A wide variety of buildings suffered damage over winter break across the state, and as a result, the availability of products and vendors is unknown due to greater demand for personal and materials. Bates said they moved activities taking place in the gym into the multipurpose gym. Intramurals will still take place and they are working to put together a schedule for free play to occur.
Sam Guth, director of the physical plant at Truman, described some of the other damage that occurred over break. Guth said a heating coil at the top floor of the Student Union Building broke, allowing water to enter the building. This set off a fire alarm, which alerted DPS, who then alerted the physical plant. Workers then began the process of cleaning up the water from the building. This occurred around 6 p.m. Christmas Eve.
The same day at around 9 p.m., DPS alerted the physical plant that another water-related issue occurred in Violette Hall. Guth said the sprinkler in Violette was triggered, with water flowing down all three building floors. Physical plant workers called the Kirksville Fire Department, who shut the water off in the building. Guth said the same workers at the SUB moved to Violette Hall to begin removing water from the building.
Despite their efforts, the scope of the disaster was too much for the limited staff to take care of before the beginning of school, so a professional restoration company, Servpro, was called in to assist repairs in Violette Hall, where they worked for about two weeks. Guth said additional work is ongoing in the building, such as replacing baseboards.
Guth said Blanton-Nason-Brewer Hall also faced water damage, with a leak occurring in one of the rooms in the building. West Campus Suites and the Kennels by Stokes Stadium each had a pipe burst.
Guth said problems such as this are common but that usually breaks do not occur in quick succession as they did over the break. A combination of cold weather, wind direction and coincidence resulted in pipes freezing and subsequently bursting.
In total, Guth said 5,000-6,000 gallons of water poured into Violette Hall. The SUB accumulated around 1,000 gallons. Guth said the total amount will not be known until he receives the water bill.
Guth said there was little equipment damage in Violette Hall beyond a couple monitors and printers. Additionally, the disaster did not ruin any furniture. The total restoration cost could be around $80,000, though this is ultimately not a major financial hit to the University because of insurance coverage and financial reserves, Guth said.