Clemens Hall flooding causes week-long disruption; total damages still unknown

Department Chair Rachel Ablow hopes for building’s full re-opening by Oct. 23


More than 90 classes this week in Clemens Hall have been moved or canceled because of flooding.

On Monday night at approximately 7:30 p.m., UB Facilities received a report that water was flooding the floors of Clemens Hall. Facilities identified a ruptured valve connected to a pipe used to cool the building within an hour. Once they turned off the water, all 10 floors of Clemens Hall’s piping had to empty out through the ruptured valve and the water flooded through the hallways through the elevator shafts. A university-wide UB Alert was sent out at 10:30 p.m. Monday. The full extent of damage is still being assessed.

Classes in Clemens Hall were canceled Tuesday. Faculty was allowed in the building Tuesday to begin to assess the damage to their classrooms and offices, while UB facilities continued to work to alleviate the water damage and prevent mold and fungus growth.

In the meantime, some professors canceled classes instead of rescheduling. Chris Saden, a senior aerospace and mechanical engineering major, said his Native American film class was canceled on Tuesday night and his midterm rescheduled to next week.

“I think it worked out alright for students. No one can complain about an extra week to study for a mid-term,” Saden said. “But you have to imagine it’s a bit of an inconvenience for professors to have to adjust their syllabus around.”

Rachel Ablow, English Department Chair, said the cleanup process is “ongoing.” Technology was not damaged from the flooding, she said in an email.

“No equipment was destroyed and no offices were ruined,” Ablow said. “We’re going to need to replace some ceiling tiles and possibly repair some walls.”

Ablow said she hopes to have all classrooms open by Monday, Oct. 23.

Most of the damage occurred on the south side of the building, facing Baird Hall, according to a news release. Floors five through eight were not affected by flooding, the report said.

Inspectors from UB’s Environment, Health and Safety Department are continuing to monitor conditions inside the building.

Facilities advised people to avoid using the elevator and to enter Clemens Hall using the north stairwell facing the UB Commons. Nobody is allowed inside the building unless needed. University police are securing the building and only allowing people inside who need to gain access.

A UB Alert warned people to use caution entering the building and watch for extension cords and hoses.

The wireless internet connection is restored, but there may be spottiness, said staff from UB’s Computer Services Department, in a UB Alert.

Chris Donacik, an assistant director of buildings and grounds, said there have been multiple floods in Clemens Hall over the years because of the infrastructure within the older buildings.

“We’re looking into possibly getting capital project money to replace some of these units,” Dansick said. He added that maintaining three UB campuses is expensive.

UB Facilities crews are working with a third-party vendor to fully dry out the affected classrooms and offices.

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