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Pipe, sprinkler leaks close Environmental Science building and Viking Union

The Environmental Science building remains closed while maintenance crews address repairs. // Photo by Emily Porter

By Claudia Cooper and Zoe Hilgedick

The Environmental Studies Building was evacuated due to a broken sprinkler line on the seventh floor of the building on Tuesday, Feb. 5. This marks the second building leak in two days.

According to a WWU Campus Advisory sent out that afternoon, the fire alarm went off around 1 p.m.. Western’s maintenance crew and University Police arrived on the scene shortly after. Maintenance shut off the electricity and assessed the water damage caused by the flooding, which occured on the top three floors, the email said. The Environmental Studies Building was closed and classes held there will be relocated until the water damage is assessed and controlled, the alert said.

The cause of the broken sprinkler line was most likely weather related due to the line running on the rooftop and the freezing temperatures, a follow up email sent Tuesday night said. The follow-up email also said classes held in the Environmental Studies Building on Wednesday, Feb. 6 will be relocated to other buildings until the water can be cleaned up and damage can be assessed.

This incident is similar to a pipe leak in the Viking Union that damaged the top three floors on Monday, Feb. 4.

Because of the leak at the VU, KUGS radio station was off the air for the day and the building was temporarily closed, according to a WWU Campus Advisory sent out that afternoon.
The majority of VU offices were unharmed but the known damage is estimated to cost around $20,000 in repairs, the email said. According to the alert, maintenance is currently working to dry and repair the affected offices, as well as gauge the full extent of the damage. The doors to the VU are locked to those who aren’t management custodians and carpenters.

Western maintenance staff said the VU leak likely happened in the seventh floor equipment room when an air vent was left open during the cold weekend, freezing a heating coil.


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