Ferrell Academic Center flooded after a pipe burst on fourth floor

The fourth floor of Ferrell Academic Center is undergoing construction.  Photo by Mary Elsen.

By Sam Smeltzer, The Circuit.

One pipe burst has destroyed wood floors, furniture, ceiling tiles and has closed a coffee shop.

The Ferrell Academic Center had a thermal tank pop right above the rotunda on the fourth floor on the morning of Oct. 2.

The building was last checked on at 2:30 a.m. that morning, and the leaks were discovered at 5:40 a.m.

The flooding was discovered by a member of the food service team who arrived early in the morning to set up for a President’s brunch. Benedictine Operations believes that the leaks couldn’t have been going for more than an hour.

Matt Fassero, Head of Operations, arrived on the scene shortly after it was discovered.

“It was kind of like it was raining, so if you can imagine a rain storm inside, not like an all-out down pour but just a little rain,” Fassero said.

The damage is mainly on the fourth floor due to the water tight tiles and concrete floors, but it has seriously damaged the Gangel Seminar Room and Café 62, Fassero said. The building suffered no electrical damage.

Café 62 won’t be open for at least a couple weeks although no machines were seriously damaged.

Only one office suffered significant damage leaving a gaping hole in the celling. Dr. Mark Zia, professor of Sacred Theology & Director of Academic Enrichment Programs, says that he has no idea when his office will be repaired. Zia says that he is glad that his office took the blow and not classrooms because that could cause a bigger issue.

“If all these classrooms would have been damaged we would have a huge problem because all classes for the college are full to capacity during the prime hours of 9, 10 and 11 and they wouldn’t have been able to find classrooms to direct them to,” Zia said.

The only thing that may not be able to be replaced that was in Zia’s office is his doctoral gown. Zia says that the gown is made of silk and he doesn’t believe it can be salvaged, but he is still attempting to get it repaired.

Thanks to the dehumidifiers all over the building and the help from Serve Pro from St. Joseph, MO the entire building should be almost dry by now, but it won’t be back to normal until after Christmas break. This is because furniture and insulation need to be replaced.

“What you’re worried about with water is it’s what they call ‘secondary damage’,” Fassero said, “The water coming in is primary damage, the secondary damage is if you don’t get it dried out, you don’t get it repaired, then you could have mold grow and other things.”