University Facilities is working to repair water damage in the Student Union after a student posted pictures of the damage on UB’s Reddit page.
Andrew Tennenbaum, a Ph.D. student of aerospace engineering, posted an image of rainwater leaking from the ceiling in the tunnel between Knox Hall and the Student Union on UBreddit. The post garnered comments from students who said leaks like this are a persistent problem across North Campus.
“The water was dripping down the wall and collecting in a puddle on the floor,” Tennenbaum said. “Eventually after I posted, someone came and put up a caution sign.”
Concerned about health risks as a result of possible mold in the wet buildings, Tannenbaum felt compelled to make the leaks public on social media.
“The safety of the campus community is always a primary concern,” Tracey Eastman,
acting director of communications for University Facilities said in an email to The Spectrum. “Any time unwanted moisture is present inside our buildings, University Facilities deploys countermeasures to dry and remove potential safety hazards.”
Eastman says University Facilities is aware that some of the tunnels and building bridges on campus experience water leakage after heavy snow melt or heavy rain. University Facilities regularly seals and caulks the cracks and expansion joints for the known problem areas.
“The leaks have been happening in that hall ever since I’ve been here,” Brandon Fowler, sophomore communication and media studies major, said.
Fowler can recall a few instances during rainstorms when he walked through the Knox tunnel and passed by a “steady trickle” coming from the ceiling. He also said that he’s seen leaking water and snow inside the Natural Sciences Complex, as well as the bridges by the Level Up gaming lounge.
Salah Areikat, a junior business administration major, is disappointed in UB’s allocation of money.
“UB spent $37.8 million on One World,” Areikat said. “We all know how much tuition is and all their fees, so that’s pretty ridiculous that they can’t keep up with basic maintenance.”
UB has accumulated $605 million in deferred maintenance costs, according to UB’s 2022-23 Operating Budget Report.
University Facilities cites the age of the structures as the major reason for the leakage.
UB began construction on North Campus in 1964, with most of the academic buildings being completed in the 1990s, according to the University Libraries’ website.
In 1992, the $16 million Student Union project was completed, with no publicized renovations since. The last completed academic building at North Campus was Davis Hall in 2011, 12 years ago.
Eastman said that “the pressure of natural freeze/thaw cycles of water and ice melting” is to blame, as is the pitch of the Founder’s Plaza pavement above the Student Union tunnel. University Facilities is aware of the aesthetic complications presented by the leaks, such as rust stains on walls, and is working to correct the issue.
“Replacement of some of the problematic tunnel systems are included in the Campus Master Plan and will be studied and designed in the near future,” Eastman said.
There is currently “no estimated cost or completion date for this effort.”
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