A malfunction with the ventilation system at the Ratner Athletics Center early Friday morning caused a large section of the facility to flood, resulting in property damage that building operators say could total as much as $750,000.
Overflowing water set off the fire alarm system at 3 a.m. Though the problem was fixed and the flooding was stopped within the next two hours, parts of the building near the source were already significantly affected.
Flowing from a pipe located above the second floor offices, the water flooded the main office space and spread to the surrounding area. A number of classrooms, as well as the mens and womens basketball locker rooms and the auxiliary gymnasium, were seriously damaged by the flooding.
According to Jen Coleman, the director of facilities at Ratner, the flooding caused water damage to the walls, ceilings, furniture, computers, and video equipment.
Within hours of the flood, contractors were already in the process of restoring the facility to working order. Maintenance workers have finished clearing flooded rooms to allow them to dry and are in the process of removing permanently damaged portions of the buildings interior.
While most areas were reopened after being closed on Friday, the auxiliary gym could remain off-limits well into the winter quarter as repairs are carried out. The gym floor, which bore the brunt of the flood, was severely damaged and is unusable without extensive restoration work. Contractors were scheduled to arrive on Monday, but Coleman acknowledged that these repairs could take several months.
No students or staff members were harmed during the flooding, which occurred while the building was unoccupied. Ratner has resumed its regular schedule and most general-use areas remain open, including the pool, weight rooms, and aerobic equipment.