Reamer Campus Center Floods

Allyson Bennett, News Editor

On Sunday, February 5, Reamer Campus center experienced “a major sprinkler line failure caused by the extreme cold temperatures over the weekend,” according to an email sent to the campus community. Reamer Campus Center houses five popular dining locations, the campus bookstore, the campus mailroom, an auditorium, several spaces for club meetings, and a variety of campus offices. 

During the snap freezing that occurred from February 3 to February 4, temperatures dropped as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit, then rose to 39 degrees Fahrenheit on the morning of February 5th. This quick change in temperatures caused a sprinkler pipe to expand and malfunction. 

This incident happened while Residential Life conducted residential advisor (RA) interviews. “We were about to start our final activity when the fire alarm went off,” Maeve Baska ‘26, a witness to the incident, said. “It was obviously not a drill so everyone evacuated, a lot of the people left their stuff inside of the auditorium… we realized upon exiting Reamer… that there was a burst pipe and it was spilling water all over Jackson’s garden.” 

Concordiensis accessed Reamer while it was closed, observing workers tearing the first-floor ceiling up and workers tirelessly working to pump water out of the building. 

Later in the day, Union administrators updated the campus community: Upper Class Dining Hall and Dutch Hollow, two popular dining locations, and Reamer Auditorium suffered significant water damage. The auditorium had several feet of water in it, and Editor-in-Chief Michael Rosenbaum ‘23 observed workers throwing tables and chairs into dumpsters. 

As a result, College Park Hall began to serve as the campus’s primary lunch and dinner location, and Rathskeller “served the function of Dutch Hollow” for the time being. The Campus Bookstore, Mailroom, Concordiensis office, and other offices were not damaged, but remained closed through Tuesday, February 7. The mail room, bookstore, campus store, and administrative offices reopened on February 8. The 807 Deli reopened on February 9. 

Facilities staff felt optimistic about reopening other locations on the first floor. “We will be strategizing on how to phase and sequence the other locations on the first floor. Dutch Hollow and Garlic Nott will open when it’s deemed safe to do so, and we’re optimistic that it will happen in a short time,” Mark Donovan, Director of Facilities and Planning said. A campus-wide email indicated that these locations will reopen the week of February 13 on a to-go basis.

However, the future of Upperclass Dining Hall and the auditorium are less certain. Says Donovan: “We’re hoping that we get to a point of which on the second floor where we can have the architects and engineers come in to evaluate the conditions. We currently are under a mitigation process where we are exploring the amount of water damage… throughout not only the second floor of [the] Upperclass dining area, but the first floor auditorium and those areas in that basic column.”

This is not the first time Union buildings have suffered from damage. During the 2021-2022 academic year, Richmond House had a pipe burst on a second-floor bathroom, causing tiles to cave in and water to drip to its basement. A theme house, the Tech House, and the Integrated Science and Engineering Complex (ISEC) also suffered from water damage this same weekend. During the fall term, Concordiensis also reported on squirrels gaining access to rooms in the Fox dormitory. 

“It’s important for us to do this correctly, [and] we’re in conversations with the vice presidents of the college to determine future paths,” Donovan said.