Several buildings throughout campus were affected by water pipe breakage throughout the week, the largest of which cancelled classes throughout a whole building on the first day back to classes.

All classes in Cooper Physical Science building were cancelled Monday after a water pipe broke early in the morning. The leak was caused by a frozen pipe in the penthouse mechanical room that thawed and then leaked said Jim Lowe associate vice president for facilities planning and management. 

The pipe caused damage to spaces on every floor of Cooper, leaving students without classrooms or lab space. 

Dr. Mahfuza Khatun, a professor of physics and astronomy, was forced to cancel two of her classes Monday due to the flooding. Lab use should cease until the equipment is dry, she said, and missed class time can be made up later. 

"But at this moment, the main thing is the facilities should be available for room instructions, for lab instructions," Khatun said. "If my equipment's not dry, how in the world am I going to connect the power line, the computer and all of these internet connections?” 

Other professors such as Guillermo Gonzalez, assistant professor of astronomy, and Dr. Eric Hedin, associate professor of physics and astronomy, cancelled class and instead pointed their students to what they missed on Blackboard. 

"We're adjusting by switching a lab section to another day, and with lecture, we'll just work on making up the lost day as we go along through the rest of the semester," Hedin said in an email.

However, the problem didn't just lie with holding classes in Cooper. Equipment was damaged, years of professors' work was flooded or smashed and tiles fell from the ceiling. 

Lab manager for the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Terry Hunt, expressed some of his concerns with the damages:

· Ceiling tiles and particles continue to fall even after the water has stopped flowing

· Equipment being used before it dries out

· Cooper’s support structure

· There are active, physical and radiological monitors currently being conducted on the spills in Cooper. These monitors, he said, haven’t concluded. 

Lowe said the water was removed by university staff throughout the day and fans were placed throughout the building to dry carpet and walls. 

In addition to damages to infrastructure, some professors work that was displayed in the building — like Dr. Feng Jin and late physics chairperson emeritus David Ober — was destroyed. 

Classes in Cooper resumed Tuesday and Lowe said that at this point, "it appears damage is limited to ceiling tiles and the cleanup." 

Lowe said the damage will not be long-term and the cost estimate of the clean-up — which will include new ceiling tile, clean up labor and repair to the water line — may be anywhere between $4,000 and $5,000. 

Senior media strategist Marc Ransford said there was similar occurrences Monday in the following buildings: 

  • College of Architecture and Planning
  • Art and Journalism Building
  • L.A. Pittenger Student Center
  • Arts and Communications Building  

Another leak occurred in the North Quadrangle Building Tuesday, though Lowe said this one was not due to weather. 

"A fitting on a water line inside a restroom plumbing chase appears to have rusted to the point that it burst," Lowe said in an email via Ransford. "Most of the water flowed downward through the chase into the basement mechanical room." 

Lowe said some water entered a few offices and classrooms but was immediately removed. Other than that, Lowe said there was no damages to North Quad. 

Contact Brynn Mechem with comments at or on Twitter at @BrynnMechem. Contact Mary Freda with comments at or on Twitter at @Mary_Freda1.